It was a rumour that had been doing the rounds of the Net for some time and certainly ever since the reshuffle at the end of June: the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was about to appoint three new ministers to a seemingly ever-increasing government.
And briefly on Friday the speculation seemed to be confirmed when the official website of office the prime minister, François Fillon, "appeared" to have made the announcement.
The names of Frédéric Lefebvre, Axel Poniatowski and Paul Giaccobi popped up as new junior ministers on Friday afternoon, visible to anyone who logged on to the site, curious to have a look around at the composition of the French government.
Some might have thought it odd that there hadn't actually been any official announcement of the appointment, but surely not as strange as what happened a couple of hours later.
Their names and profiles disappeared from the site. In other words the three "newbies" had barely been ministers for three hours before they were to all intents and purposes de-ministered.
Initially the explanation from the prime minister's office was that there had been a "technical problem", presumably a way of saying a "bug in the system".
But the blunder - because that's what it was - was later attributed (of course) to perhaps the much more credible "human error".
Apparently one of the webmasters had entered information she was filing into the wrong place, and rather than it being hidden, it was published "live".
So no new job for the moment for any of the three men and Lefebvre is reportedly less than happy over the incident.
The spokesman for the ruling centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (Union for a Popular Movement, UMP) had been hoping and expecting to be named to the government back in June.
But if media speculation is to be believed, he and the others - plus the rest of the country - will have to hang on until next March to discover whether there'll be another government reshuffle.
That's because Sarkozy is now thought to prefer to wait until after the regional elections before making any more new appointments.
Ah the wonders of the Internet. Great when everything runs smoothly and just as it should. A bit of an embarrassment when there's a glitch or someone presses the wrong button.
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