President Jacques Chirac moved swiftly Monday with an expected government reshuffle, and his office said he would announce his decisions Tuesday and address the nation that humiliated him by rejecting a proposed European constitution.
Chirac will speak on television and radio Tuesday night - after he has announced "his decisions concerning the government," the Elysee Palace said.
Earlier, an aide to Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said the unpopular premier could present his resignation to Chirac by the end of the day. Chirac met with Raffarin earlier Monday and also consulted with possible successors, as well as leading politicians.
The prime minister called together his aides to bid them farewell. Aides were seen packing up boxes as Raffarin met with Chirac.
After the 30-minute meeting, Raffarin, in office since May 2002, confirmed "there will be developments today or tomorrow."
He refused to say whether he had offered his resignation, telling reporters only: "I'm going for a stroll around Paris. See you later."
EMMANUEL GEORGES-PICOT, Associated Press Writer
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969