Monday, May 30, 2005

The Day After

It's Monday, the day after the French vote on the ratification of the proposed European Constitution.

As has happened so many times down through the centuries, the French people realized that they had a rendez-vous with history. They responded Present, and 69.74% of the voters went to the polls,

The French people have rejected the European Constitution -- massively. With virtually all precincts reporting, including those of the overseas territories and departements, the outcome is quite clear: 54.87% of the French voted non, while only 45.13% put a oui into the ballot box. To simplify, the media are calling it 55 to 45.

Paris, which has been increasingly disconnected from the rest of France for the past decade or so, went 66.45% for the oui. Lyon, too, was "yes", at 61.35%. Marseille, on the other hand, voted non (61.17%). Looking at the electoral maps in Le Parisien, Amerloque can say that most of France is red (non), with the striking exception of blue Brittany and La Vendee which came down on the side of oui. A bit simplistic, yes, but an accurate representation of the truth.

Supporters of the oui promised "chaos" if the non were to win.

Amerloque has just come home after going out for his croissant aux amandes. The metros and buses are running normally. Agents de police and school crossing guards are on the job. Commuters appear to be going to work. Shops are preparing to open (although it's Monday, and quite a few of them always close on Mondays). The noisy construction site down the street has started up at 08h00, as usual. Why, news reaching Amerloque from the countryside reveals that French farmers have no intention of allowing their crops to lie unharvested in the fields !

Just what kind of "chaos" is in the cards ? (smile) Some kind of looming, unspecific threat ? Societal breakdown ?

A halt to European integration, certainly. Whether temporary or permanent will only be known in a few years, after all the other European countries have accepted or rejected the Constitution.

A vast rethink of le projet europeen by the French people, quite likely. When the French decide to delve into an issue and re-examine it, they go all the way and take the time they need. What kind of Europe do they really want ? What kind of Europe do they have ? Where has Europe gone wrong ? What has Europe done right ?

That's about it, in the "chaos" column.

Voters in the Netherlands will go to the polls on June 1st, and country after country (France is the 10th country in the series of 25) will ratify or refuse over the next year and a half or so. The Treaty of Nice, which governs the links and procedures among the current 25 EU members (plus two candidate countries, Romania and Bulgaria), remains in effect until 2009.

Note that French voters on both sides are absolutely outraged by suggestions coming from highly-placed Brussels Eurocrats that the French should be asked to "revote" on the same Constitution in a few years. Et puis quoi, encore ?! can be heard on TV and in the cafe where Amerloque quaffs his morning arabica.

Domestic French political considerations are another story, however, and there's a good chance that there will be a bit of "chaos" in that sphere for the forthcoming 22 months, during the runup to the next Presidentielle, which will immediately be followed by parliamentary elections.


Text © Copyright 2005 by L'Amerloque


Blogger PTA Mom said...

I know I shouldn't be, but I was surprised by the non vote. Why did Chirac do this to himself.. ordering a referendum? It will be interesting to see the impact on the next presidential election, I agree.

4:12 AM  
Blogger Frania W. said...

"Why did Chirac do this to himself.. ordering a referendum?", asked Auntie M.

Because he could not force the European Constitution down the throat of the French people by having it voted in the Parliament where, in fact it was a sure win. He had to be fair to his countrymen by letting them decide. So he took the chance & lost. That's what a referendum is all about.

Remember, we're in France. Try to imagine a Parliament vote French citizens do not agree upon. Do you think they would sit back & do nothing? They would go down the street, like they have been doing for hundreds of years, and you would hear the ramdam!

The French people see *Brussels* as a grey faceless soul-less autocrat & complain that what's coming out of there does not take in consideration what people want but what *it*, Brussels, judges best for everyone. That's hard to swallow for a Nation of People who like to go knock at the door of the government when it judges its government is not listening.

Although I personally think they should have voted OUI, I understand their NON. The will of the People has to be respected. L'Amerloque's analysis was excellent, even to prevision of the percentage.

I certainly am not going to jump in the Seine over this, but I think that many politicians "sont dans de mauvais draps..."

Now, like the French say, "il faut tout remettre à plat... et discuter."

Frania W.

11:51 PM  

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