Let me softly toss out something to you both for a reaction. Hate, or love, Chirac, everyone admits he is a smooth, shrewd pol, and a survivor. He had the chocie of either a national plebiscite for the EU document, or having the legislature ratify it..which would have been automatic. I'v read much of the commentary on the French process, and I haven't yet seen any comments upon perhaps Chirac really wanted it to fail?..
No, I don't think so, because everyone knew the constitution would fail anyhow - in Britain. The objective was more like to marginalize Britain and put France in the driver seat of a renegotiated pact. That is all ruined now (snicker).
The reason I say this look at how Chirac turfed out Jean-Pierre Raffarin and has appointed Dominique de Villepin as Prime Minister. De Villepin is a very pro-E.U., a never elected to any office, technocrat.
This little piece from Wednesday's Turkish newspaper,'Zaman' on de Villepin:
"Coming from a blue blood family the new French Prime Minister was born in Morocco and raised in Caracas. He completed his education at a school for the state elite. As a loyal politician to Chirac, de Villepin is known as someone who entertains the notion of Turkey's accession to the Union."
I have seen Dominique de Villepin interviewed. The last time was on the PBS Charlie Rose Show during this last winter. He's a well spoken brilliant French politician, but not someone who has the best interests of America, as was clearly demonstrated over Saddam affair.