Yeah, that's great way to bring people to your side... Chirac tells voters, "if you vote no, we'll just ram it down your throats later!"
Turmoil as Chirac plots to disregard 'non' vote
By Philip Webster and Charles Bremner
PRESIDENT CHIRAC of France is preparing to throw Europe into confusion and put Britain on the spot by backing moves to keep the European constitution alive if it is rejected in Sunday’s referendum.
French diplomats say that M Chirac is expected to urge other countries to proceed with ratification because France does not want to be seen to be blocking the European project. Any attempt to persuade other countries to go ahead will dash the hopes of those in the British Government who believed that a French rejection would make a British referendum unnecessary.
British ministers argue that it will be impossible to hold a referendum next year because the final shape of the treaty on which the British would be voting will be unknown.
President Chirac was still insisting last night that renegotiation was out of the question if the French vote "no". British ministers believe that the only way that the French could get eventual approval would be to amend the constitution in a way that would make it unacceptable in Britain.
“We do not know if there is going to be a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but a ‘no’ would create massive uncertainty about what we are supposed to be voting on,” a ministerial source said. M Chirac went on French television last night to deliver a dramatic last-ditch appeal for a ‘yes’ vote. He urged the French people not to punish his Government.
He and other "yes" campaigners have said repeatedly during the campaign that there is no “Plan B” if the treaty is rejected and that there would not be a second referendum.
But one option being discussed in senior diplomatic circles is for candidates in the French presidential election in 2007 to promise to ratify the treaty in parliament rather than by referendum.
It's great to know that the French government doesn't like to put issues like these in front of the voters.
ARC: St Wendeler