According to NEOVIDEOGAMES, Pompidou was an easy winner in the presidential elections of 1-15 June. Unlike what had happened in 1965, the left, deeply divided, were unable to present a single candidate and therefore distributed their votes in the first round among Duclos (who collected the approximately stabilized share of the communist votes: 21 , 5%) and Defferre (who had just 5.1%), while the two candidates who referred to the dispute of May 1968 (Rocard, secretary of the PSU and Krivine) touched 3.7% and 1, respectively, 1% of the votes. Behind Pompidou (who obtained 43.9%), the second place was thus conquered by the President of the Senate Poher (23.4%) who clearly succumbed to the ballot. The advent of Pompidou at the Elysée, despite the evident continuity with respect to de Gaulle, saw the introduction of some motifs that observers did not fail to point out. The presidency of the Council was called J. Chaban-Delmas, who presented himself as the promoter of a vast project to renovate and modernize the “new society”, while the reconciliation with Giscard d ‘was proof of the enlargement towards the center of the majority. Estaing, which summarized the department of Finance and Economy, and the entry into the government of Pleven, Duhamel and Fontanet. The devaluation of the franc (ventured, but not adopted under de Gaulle) was now decided, in August 1969. a vast project to renovate and modernize a “new society”, while the reconciliation with Giscard d’Estaing, which summarized the ministry of Finance and Economy, and the entry into the government of Pleven were proof of the enlargement towards the center of the majority, Duhamel and Fontanet. The devaluation of the franc (ventured, but not adopted under de Gaulle) was now decided, in August 1969. a vast project to renovate and modernize a “new society”, while the reconciliation with Giscard d’Estaing, which summarized the ministry of Finance and Economy, and the entry into the government of Pleven were proof of the enlargement towards the center of the majority, Duhamel and Fontanet. The devaluation of the franc (ventured, but not adopted under de Gaulle) was now decided, in August 1969.
In foreign policy, the most successful decision was constituted by the end of the veto on the entry of Great Britain into the EEC, in the context of a relaunch of European politics which found its sanction in the meeting of the nine European heads of state held in Paris in October 1972. Significant differences, which were not only in style, from de Gaulle were also to be found in the overall softer interpretation that Pompidou gave to politics of grandeur. The good relations with the USSR (further sanctioned by the trip in October 1970, followed by the arrival, the following year, of Brežnev in Paris) was initially matched by a certain deterrent against the USA (meeting with Nixon in December 1971), but then complicated by the developments of the crisis of the international monetary system and by the new conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis, which saw Pompidou attesting to positions favorable to the former. In September 1973, the French president made a trip to China. In May 1974 he met Brezhnev in Russia, discussing the issues of the European Security Conference with him. Internally, after the half failure of the April 1972 referendum on the entry of Great Britain into the EEC, the exhaustion of the reforming experience of Chaban-Delmas (opposed by the more orthodox Gaullism) was marked by its replacement in July 1972 with P. Messmer, also interpreted as the indication of a further accentuation of the role of the Elysée. L’ not too satisfactory outcome of the legislative elections of March 1973 (which saw a recovery of the socialists and communists, united since June 1972 by a common government program) and the failure of the attempt to reduce the presidential term to five years, part of the impression of increasing difficulties. On January 19, 1974, the decision was taken to let the franc float out of the Community “snake”, while measures against inflation were adopted in the following March.
When Pompidou died on April 2, 1974, the left had the candidacy of Mitterrand, who re-emerged after the partial eclipse that followed the events of May 1968 and June 1971, first secretary of the renewed Socialist Party. On the Gaullist side, Chaban-Delmas was in contention: but on 8 April the launch of the candidacy of Giscard d’Estaing intervened to disrupt the picture, evidently determined to carry out his project of a larger majority open towards the center (for the Giscard’s political career see the relevant entry in this App.). He actually got the support of Lecanuet and in the first round of 5 May he placed second, with 32.93% of the votes behind Mitterrand (43.35%) and ahead of Chaban-Delmas (14.76%). In view of the ballot, some left-wing Gaullists took a stand for Mitterrand, but on the whole the majority of the electorate that had leaned on de Gaulle and had trusted Pompidou showed acceptance of the “change without risk” promised by Giscard, who, albeit to a limited extent, prevailed on May 19 with 50.66% of the votes, against 49.33% of Mitterrand. From this moment on, the political struggle was characterized by the progressive disintegration of the majority, divided between Gaullists and Giscardians, by the attainment of an apparently solid understanding between socialists and communists and by an advance of the left. After his resignation from the government, the former prime minister J. Chirac (replaced at the head of the government by R. Barre) did not hesitate to attack Giscard d’Estaing head-on, aiming at the city hall of Paris in competition with the presidential candidate. While the president was once again proposing his program of an “advanced liberal” society (with the publication of the essay Démocratie française, in October 1976), the results of the municipal elections of March 1977 recorded a success of the left that exceeded expectations even in traditionally conservative regions and in rural areas. The disagreements on the left front that dramatically emerged in the following September however introduced a new element into the French political framework. In fact, the continuing controversy on the left, President Giscard’s appeal to the country on the eve of the first election day (12 March 1978), the weight of the international situation determined the success of the government coalition that supported R. Barre. The results of the ballot (March 19) were the following: majority: 290 seats (Gaullists of the RPR: 153; Giscardians of the UDF and other lists: 137); left-wing opposition: 201 seats (socialists: 104; communists: 86; left-wing radicals: 10; far left: 1).