MY fate," French Premier Georges Pompidou once said, "is to be President of the Republic —or leader of the opposition." If last week's election results could not quite guarantee Pompidou his first choice, they certainly lessened his chances of ever having to settle for the second. The Gaullist sweep among France's voters—and the turn of events that led to it—have clearly made Pompidou the President's indispensable second-in-command and undisputed heir apparent. "My signature," De Gaulle calls him, and now that seems to carry the imprimatur of succession.

It was Pompidou who, more than...

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