ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Sunday, May 29, 2005

La Constitution d'EU: Fin

Despite the requests for support from Chirac and other elites in the EU, the European Union Constitution was rejected by the French voters. Unfortunately, the French people rejected it for a variety of reasons... some because they felt it gave too much power to the UK and not France... some because they recognize that the term "european" does not really mean much, when it involves Spaniards, French, Germans, Italians, and Turks. Also, the constitution was apparently a laundry list of issues that are more appropriate for follow-on legislation.

Despite this loss, Chirac has said he won't step down and that they will attempt again... if at first you don't succeed... (Of course, their second attempt will bypass the people and rely solely on the National Assembly which can't wait to line up to vote oui!

French Reject Europe's First Constitution
By JOHN LEICESTER
The Associated Press
Sunday, May 29, 2005; 5:01 PM

PARIS -- French voters rejected the European Union's first constitution Sunday, President Jacques Chirac said _ a stinging repudiation of his leadership and the ambitious, decades-long effort to further unite the continent.

Chirac, who urged voters to approve the charter, announced the result in a brief, televised address. He said the process of ratifying the treaty would continue in other EU countries.

"France has expressed itself democratically," Chirac said. "It is your sovereign decision, and I take note." [but screw you ignorant peasants... this will pass over your objections soon!]

Earlier, the Interior Ministry said that with about 83 percent of the votes counted, the referendum was rejected by 57.26 percent of voters. It was supported by 42.74 percent.

All 25 EU members must ratify the text for it to take effect as planned by Nov. 1, 2006 _ and nine already have done so. The Dutch vote Wednesday, with polls showing opposition to the constitution there running at about 60 percent.

France's rejection could set the continent's plans back by years. The nation was a primary architect of European unity.

"There is no more constitution," leading opponent Philippe de Villiers said. "It is necessary to reconstruct Europe on other foundations that don't currently exist."

De Villiers called on Chirac to resign _ something the French leader had said he would not do _ and called for parliament to be dissolved.

"Tonight we face a major political crisis," he said.

Extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who campaigned vigorously for the constitution's defeat, also called for Chirac's resignation.

Chirac "wanted to gamble ... and he has lost," Le Pen said.

The rejection could kill any hopes Chirac may have had for a third term. His approval ratings have plunged to 39 percent in recent weeks, and there was widespread speculation a "no" vote would prompt him to fire unpopular Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

European leaders negotiated the treaty in October in Rome. EU officials said before the vote that even if France rejected the treaty, efforts to ratify it in other countries would proceed.

On Friday, the constitution's main architect, former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, said countries that reject the treaty will be asked to vote again.

***UPDATE***
Captain's Quarters blog is on this story as well...
While Americans might take some well-earned schadenfreude at Chirac's plight, given his efforts to turn France into our diplomatic enemy, in fact this shows that France as a whole still deeply believes in its socialist model. That attitude does not spring from its ruling class but from its electorate, which has gladly accepted a stagnant economy and double-digit unemployment because its nanny state still buffers the effects of those conditions from the individual workers.

In fact, the 'Non' may be irrelevant in the end. The society that the French defended in their vote today will disappear soon enough, as the rest of Europe will not long support the French in their self-indulgence. While Germany and France controlled the union, they could get away with breaking the debt ceilings and budgetary expectations set by the existing EU compact. Now that they have thumbed their noses at the new constitution, that control and influence will rapidly dissipate -- and they will find themselves forced to reform or face expulsion and devastating trade disputes with an otherwise united Europe.

The far left and far right in France are celebrating tonight on the streets of Paris, delighted in their rejection of the sensible market-based reforms that the rest of Europe wants. They may have won the battle, but that victory will only be temporary, and will consign them to second-tier status in Europe from this point forward.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler