The French Prime Minister, Pierre Messmer, and his Government resigned in a suprise move on Wednesday (27 February).
GV French flag TILT DOWN TO gate TO Hotel de Matignon (2 shots)
GV Pressmen around doorway (3 shots)
SV Messmer emerges walks through pressmen and enters car; car drives off
GV Pressmen wait outside Elysee Place (2 shots)
SV ZOOM IN Messmer comes out of Palace, walks through pressmen and enters car
SV PAN Car leaves
Initials BB/0307 BL/PN/BB/0318
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Background: The French Prime Minister, Pierre Messmer, and his Government resigned in a suprise move on Wednesday (27 February).
But President Pompidou almost immediately re-appointed M. Messmer to officer to head a new administration.
President Pompidou accepted the resignations at a weekly Cabinet meeting, causing speculation about the future of the 57-year old Gaullist who became Prime Minister in July 1972.
After re-appointing M. Messmer -- often accused of failing to restore the French Government's morale -- President Pompidou made it clear that his objective was to strengthen the Cabinet by making it more compact and united.
Prime Minister Messmer said President Pompidou had asked him to reduce the size of the Cabinet, which until it resigned on Wednesday, had 38 members including Ministers and State Secretaries.
M. Messmer met the President at the Elysee Palace late in the day to present a new Government list he worked out during the afternoon. The new Government was expected to announce on Thursday or Friday (28 February or 1 March).
Newspaper reports suggested that the effect of the Cabinet changes would be to consolidate power around the Prime Minister -- whose authority had been tarnished -- an so give him the authority to meet the effects of the energy crisis. Editorials said the energy crisis --- which threatened to create a heavy French balance of payments deficit -- lay behind the political manoeuvre.