Peter M Howard ::

It’s Non

29May2005 [myth]

Well the French have called 'Non', currently calling around 55% +/- 2ish. EC Pres Juncker just gave a Press Conference to admit defeat; but at least tried not to be as negative as the media has been in the lead-up. The propaganda warning was that Europe would fail, France would lose its position &c, if she said Non. But Juncker admitted that the Union will not stop, and commentators on all stations are reiterating that the leaders of Europe will have to sit down and figure out why the treaty was rejected, and negotiate something new (Juncker even said that this reflected France's discomfort with the text, but also that the wider Europe may share this discomfort).

What will be interesting is what this does for French domestic politics, the major parties having pushed the Oui line. The Socialists (PS) may struggle the most, as some see them having lost touch with their base by voting Oui while their supporters went Non. Add to that the fact that the extreme (left and right) parties were the only ones arguing Non and the National Assembly may get messy... My guess though, is that the major parties will write this as a rejection of the text rather than a rejection of Europe (which is correct, but isn't what they were saying before the vote), and further, will rewrite their pre-Referendum positions so as not to lose contact with the people. I'm particularly thinking of the PS in this case, whose internal opponents of the treaty will probably return to favour to aid in this rewriting...

Further: am currently watching 'La Chaine Parlementaire' (whilst flicking channels, but this one is very in-depth political analysis, and lots of arguing) and one woman raised another point I'd noticed during the debate: the fact that the major parties and the mainstream media widely supported the Oui, while 55% have voted Non, raises the question of democratic representation - both politically and in terms of the media's role. I touched on some of this in my media analysis from a month ago and I'm going to have to revisit it...

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