View from underneath the
Here we are, in an
The vote was overwhelming, especially geographically. The Ile de France, a small group of
departments (like counties) in the upper middle of the country, is where
However, out of the total 90-some departments in
A few other departments voted Oui. One is in
Another area that voted Oui was the
The vote was divided mainly along socioeconomic lines, not party lines. In fact, the outcome threatens to split the Socialist party in a fatal way.
In the richest arrondissments, the 7th and the 16th, the Ouis won with 80 percent of the vote.
Voter turnout was 66 percent in
Overall, 55 percent of the French voters said NON.
I think Chirac made the right moral choice, sending the vote to the people rather than having Parliament ratify the constitution, which it surely would have done. But I don’t think Chirac made his choice on moral grounds. He simply made a drastically wrong political decision. Rather than accepting responsibility, he is expected to fire the prime minister, Raffarin, and appoint a replacement.
Unemployment has been high in
A French newspaper had a very good column by Vincent
Tournier which was translated and included in the International Herald
Tribune. I hope it made it into the
New York Times for Americans to read.
It was about how many have tried to claim that the EU constitution is
The 25 European states are very different from each
other. They don’t share a common
language. They include some wildly
different cultures that are very old and steeped in revered tradition. The 13 original
The only way an EU constitution would have a hope is if it went a long way toward preserving as much in the way of states rights as possible. However, at 450 pages of structure and requirements, it does not appear (to the voters) to do that.
The columnist also says that the complicated text of the EU constitution is also a problem. Its Bill of Rights is nowhere near as readable as the US Bill of Rights.
Finally, the columnist writes:
“Now, the French may have many defects, but they are also
an old political people who have seen many constitutions come and go. It’s an error to explain their reluctance
simply as their traditional scorn, or worse, as a refusal of the idea of
“By voting no, the French will not topple