Skip to comments.France Set for 'No' Vote
Posted on 05/24/2005 1:03:10 PM PDT by Pikamax
France Set for 'No' Vote
Mounting signs suggest that President Jacques Chiracs decision to call a referendum on Europes future has backfired with a string of polls pointing to a possibly humiliating defeat for the French leader.
A new poll today indicated that Chiracs opponents are gaining momentum in the last crucial days of campaigning before Sundays vote that he called on the European Unions first constitution a text that marks the next big step in a 50-year process of European coming-together.
A French no could, at least temporarily, kill off the landmark treaty and its stated goal of closer integration between the EUs 25 member states. They all must approve the constitution for it to go into effect in 2006. But voters in France and the Netherlands, who cast ballots three days after the French, have grave misgivings.
Chirac, like leaders elsewhere in Europe, could in theory have chosen the easier path of having the treaty approved by parliament where his government holds power.
But history, pressures from political leaders who wanted the French to have their say and his own record of having spoken in favour of referendums forced Chiracs hand, even though he also fears that a no will plunge the EU into crisis.
Had Chirac refused a referendum, it would have given the impression that he was afraid of the people, said Florence Deloche-Gaudez, an expert on the EU and the constitution at Sciences Po university in Paris.
The new poll by the Ifop agency for Paris Match magazine showed the no camp taking 54% of the vote compared to 46% for the yes camp. The poll was at least the tenth in 10 days to put the no camp ahead. No margin of error was given.
As Sunday approaches, opponents of the treaty are sounding more confident. Olivier Besancenot of the Revolutionary Communist League said at a press conference today that no campaigners from the left will likely party on Place de la Bastille in Paris if they win.
Signs of pessimism, meanwhile, are creeping into the yes campaign.
It is deeply unfair what is happening, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the leader of the Green party in the European Parliament, told France-2 television, lamenting the no lead in polls.
Chirac also faces opposition from within his own party, the UMP. Twelve of its lawmakers gathered at a Paris park today to call for a no. One of them read aloud a joint statement in which they accused European leaders from outside France of interfering in the vote by appealing for a French yes.
In our history, all pressures of this kind have rebounded against those who made them, the lawmakers said.
Chirac will try to turn the situation around in a televised address on Thursday evening from the presidential Elysee Palace his fourth and last such appearance of the campaign.
Former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, a Socialist who has emerged from retirement to campaign for the treaty, also was appearing on TV today to try to win over voters on the left shown by polls to largely oppose the treaty.
Red Army Brigades or some such? I didn't know about the child molesting. Just another Euro-scum who made good in the land of Whatever.
No. Some group called Revolutionary Struggle that threw Molotov cocktails at policemen, set off car bombs, etc. Not as well-organized as the RAF.
I didn't know about the child molesting.
In the 70s he boasted in writing about interfering with his young charges during his days as a kindergarten teacher. Today he claims he was just lying to be provocative and that it never happened.
And you're absolutely right.