Where now for the French government and Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin in particular?
The resounding No vote in Sunday’s referendum on the EU constitution has plunged President Jacques Chirac’s administration, and the project itself, into crisis.
Chirac met with his ministers amid speculation that Raffarin would lose his job.
Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin is one of the leading contenders to replace him. His main rival for the post is Nicholas Sarkozy, the head of Chirac’s UMP party. He also met the President but left by a side door to avoid media attention.
Defence Minister Michelle Alliot Marie and her Foreign Affairs counterpart, Michel Barnier, are also thought to be in the running.
Chirac went on air to indicate there would be changes at the top.
“During this debate, you have also expressed your worries and expectations. I intend to respond to that by giving a new and strong impetus to the action of the government. In the coming days I will announce my decisions on the government and its priorities”, he said.
Chirac is to make another televised address on Tuesday in which the changes are expected to be announced.