More than 12 years after voluntarily relinquishing the reins of Government, because he believed the parties made the task of Government too difficult, General de Gaulle was this evening voted back into power in the National Assembly by 329 votes to 224.
More than 12 years after voluntarily relinquishing the reins of Government, because he believed the parties made the task of Government too difficult, General de Gaulle was this evening voted back into power in the National Assembly by 329 votes to 224. Immediately afterwards the first Council of Ministers of the new Government met at the Elysee.
General de Gaulle told the Assembly in his brief speech that, if elected, he would ask for full power for six months, at the end of which it was to be hoped that "the public powers will be able to resume the normal course of their functioning."
The General mentioned his plans for constitutional reform, to be based on the three principles of universal suffrage, a proper division of power, and the responsibility of Government to Parliament. As soon as Parliament had passed the special powers Bill it would go into recess until October.
Except for these references to constitutional reform, the speech contained little in the nature of a political programmed. The General began with a gloomy picture of the state of France, "threatened with dislocation perhaps with civil war" but, beyond referring to the possibility of "hope rediscovered" in Algeria and rearrangement of relationships between France "and the peoples who are associated with her", there was noticeable little indication of what he proposed to do, and no reference to foreign police or finance.
The Assembly was crowded as never before, and large forces of police and security troops were stationed in its precincts to deal with any trouble. The General entered the crowded Chamber soon after 3 o'clock, and sat, a lonely and isolated figure, on the empty Ministerial benches. He came in with a crowd of deputies who were making a late arrival and was at first hardly noticed. When his tall figure was seen there was an outburst of applause from the right.
Then the General delivered his speech from the rostrum in unemotional tones without rhetoric. He read most of it, and departed from the next only when he came to the final words in which he spoke of the "unity, integrity and independence of France."
Then to the accompaniment of applause from the whole Chamber, with the exception of the Communists and some Socialists, he left the Palais Bourbon and went back to the hotel where he has been holding his talks, to await the Assembly's decision.