Premier Edith Cresson, France's first woman prime minister, pledged Thursday to bring dynamism to the job and make her country as strong as Germany.

Hours before she was to formally take power and name her Cabinet, Cresson said she was "surprised that anyone was surprised" President Francois Mitterrand gave her the job."The president thought I had the necessary characteristics for the new spirit he wants," Cresson said in an interview on the Antenne-2 television network.

Mitterrand appointed Cresson on Wednesday to replace Premier Michel Rocard, who resigned after three years in the post.