Non (provisoire)

by Chris Bertram on May 29, 2005

The exit polls say “that the French electorate have rejected the European Constitution”: , with 55% voting “no”.



P O'Neill 05.29.05 at 3:25 pm

The other story surely being the MASSIVE turnout, looks like 80%.


ab 05.29.05 at 4:08 pm

At least we now have a definite result which leaves no doubt. I guess the Dutch will vote likewise on Wednesday, then the Constitution will be buried and the debate can start from scratch.


otto 05.29.05 at 4:09 pm

Do you favour labelling all voting results as “(provisoire)” or just those which refuse assent to increase the powers of European institutions?


P O'Neill 05.29.05 at 4:22 pm

Speaking of “provisoire,” they seem to be backtracking a bit on the turnout estimates, closer to 70 than 80.


schwa 05.29.05 at 4:29 pm

otto – I imagine he quite correctly favours labeling as “provisoire” those voting results which are based only on exit poll predictions and not on an actual count of ballots.


otto 05.29.05 at 4:40 pm

fair point. I thought “provisoire” might reflect the very common vote-again-until-they-get-it-right school, but your interpretion makes much more sense.


Chris 05.29.05 at 5:18 pm

schwa understood me correctly.


yabonn 05.29.05 at 5:45 pm

In this social climate, whatever chirac would have asked, the answer would have been no. As a consequence, our Dumbest Prez Ever really, really itched for a referendum. To annoy the socialist opposition, he machiavellian he.

The left no made a difference. Problem is they opposed an unperfect constitution to get nothing, or worse, much later. Now they’re planning on some renegociation. But with whom?

On the positive side, that raffarin freak is going to be dumped quickly now (villepin, alliot marie or even sarkozy next, i’d bet). Chirac should leave, but he won’t.


ab 05.29.05 at 6:12 pm

On the (supposedly) provisional nature of the Non: I don’t think Chirac will dare to call a second referendum next year or so.

The Constitution as we know it is dead. Probably most of the rather uncontroversial elements (I guess about 70%) of the draft text will be incorporated in a new simple intergovernmental treaty on a much more modest basis.


Lebensraum of the Elites 05.29.05 at 6:40 pm

This smug rejection by the French is but one attempt only, one that represents a temporary, if regrettable, bow to democratic inefficiencies. Yet it remains but one tactic within the broader strategy only.


Dirk 05.29.05 at 6:52 pm

Pat Roberson will be really happy.

I’m not sure why, but he hates anything to do with European unification.


Hektor Bim 05.29.05 at 7:24 pm


My sense is that Pat Robertson hates the EU because he sees it as a step towards world government, and in his eschatology, Satan will inevitably control such a world government. Seems intensely wacky to me, but that’s my impression of the roots of the opposition.

Well, seems like a pretty clear result against the proposed constitution. They are just going to have to modify it and try again later.

It doesn’t seem to me like the world is ending.


Barry Freed 05.29.05 at 11:14 pm

But isn’t a unified Europe at the head of a one world gubmint a necessary precondition for teh Rapture? Isn’t such a formidable re-armed EU supposed to invade Israel and conquer Jerusalem thereby setting the stage for the return of our Lord Baby Jeebus? (I haven’t read any of the Reverend’s eschatalogia so I might be a bit off on a detail or two but I have seen more than a few Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and they all pitch the same so I feel confident as to the major plot points here.) So what’s to hate? I thought Robertson and his ilk had put all their chips on that goodly number and were a prayin’ for it to come round?


Lebensraum of the Elites 05.30.05 at 12:18 am

People could address the 160,000 word proposed EU constitution (a sizable pdf) itself. Or they could address the roughly 2,500 word Table of Contents alone. Perhaps they could apply some of that grey matter as well to comparing either the ToC or the full 160,000 word proposed constitution to the appx. 4,500 word U.S. Constitution.

But no, rather expend all that grey matter on Pat Robertson, because, no doubt, of his massive influence upon the French electorate.


bi 05.30.05 at 2:38 am

And of course, compare the proposed 500-page constitution to the 900 pages’ worth of WTO regulations.

Hektor Bim: well, any world government is 100% evil, except when it’s led by the President of the United States, then it’s 100% good. :)


jonathan 05.30.05 at 3:55 am

Now the road is clear for the revival of intergovernmentalism and away with supranationalism. Here comes our next De Gaulle into France. Move HQ from Brussels to Paris and so on…

…nice turnout!


Tracy W 05.30.05 at 7:42 pm

I think it may be relevant that the people who argued for a vote ‘Yes’ always are arguing that the EU should have a constitution, rather than that the EU should have thisconstitution.

The closest I’ve ever heard anyone come to defending the constituion offered is that it would be too politically difficult to start over again. Which in context is a pitiful argument. Although I haven’t read the European constituion, I think the quietness of the yes campaigners on the topic of whether, say, clause 2.2 will bring major benefits, or arguing that the proposed separation of powers is better than a number of possible alternatives, is a pretty strong argument for rationally voting No. Or Non.

I advise any Europeans out there to vote No. A good constitution may be a very good thing for Europe. That doesn’t mean that any constituion is a good thing.


Antoni Jaume 05.31.05 at 1:57 pm

To those who think this misnamed “constitution” is long, look at Alabama 1901 Constitution.



Lebensraum of the Elites 06.01.05 at 2:21 am

If by “misnamed” the indication is it’s primarily an economically interested document and not a founding document in toto (one that would entirely supercede individual nations’ constitutions), that’s true to a large degree only. E.g., there is a broad outline of what it means to be a citizen of the EU, broad statements of the role of natl. parliaments within and to some degree coordinated by the EU, a legal system – all of which would likely see more bureaucratic growth and encroachments rather than mitigation in any likely future; also the simple fact that economic matters per se are not always isolable from other legal matters. (I don’t pretend to know the long term implications of these constitutive “broad outlines,” but that’s part of the concern.)

None of that may be deemed to be ‘bad’ on the surface (and no one is using the equivalent of Bush/Blair=Hitler agitprop and rhetoric against it), but it’s all a constitutional document, no mere charter of a subsidiary, non-constitutive agency functioning for and with a group of nation/states (as the WTO for example, essentially, is). One fundamental concern, thus, is elitist distancing of critical components that would otherwise remain within the scope of more direct and transparent democratic accountability.

Additionally, even in pure economic and power oriented terms, in facing global markets and competition, the case has not been made, certainly not definitively that I’ve read, that such a constitutionally based system is in fact the best route to go. If the economic interest per se is the sole interest, why has the argument for a “oui” vote not been forwarded via comparisons with various other alternatives (std. treaties, alliances, intra-EU competitive frameworks, etc.)? Instead, at least in the case of France, which is only the first (or second?) of nine nations to subject acceptance to a popular vote, we’ve seen MSM styled blitzes on their national media outlets, further evidencing the “elitist” motif and further clouding the quality of information rather than providing more clarification.

I don’t have any clear or definitive answer, but what has been manifested is far more troubling than reassuring, both in terms of the economic interests per se and in terms of both the short and certainly longer term potential political pitfalls as well. Why are central-state, or central-pan-state economic controls via such a fundamental constitutional mechanism deemed to be better than inter-national competitive/alliance frameworks? I’ve yet to see that answered on any printed page whatsoever.


Lebensraum of the Elites 06.01.05 at 2:34 am

Also, the length of Alabama’s constitution, a single domain (state) within a nation/state, is not a terribly apt analogy or comparison with a constitution of a supra-state system, regardless of the length of the document.

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