Turnout was estimated at over 70 percent, far exceeding other recent elections in France. The final figure was expected to surpass turnout in the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty 13 years ago that paved the way to the euro.The far left and right in France are delighted to have defeated the creeping Anglo-Saxonism they read into the Euro consitituion. 57% of the voters rejected the constitution.
"It's a big no," said Bruno Jeanbart, director of political research at the CSA polling station. "It's a twin protest vote against the government and against Europe."
A huge defeat for the French poltical elites which hoped to be able to use the Euro constitution to enforce a more centralized EU regime with, naturally, French leadership. As I wrote below, the left attacked the consitution for precisely the elements which would have made Europe a more market oriented, competitive and productive society. And the left won by convincing people like this one,
"I believe in Europe, but not in a free-market Europe where everyone competes with everyone else and the result is lower wages and less security for all," Ms. Belgrave said, echoing one of the most popular arguments of the no camp.
Of course, this poor woman does not realize that the very nature of the expanded EU is to have precisely this sort of competition.
Still, this is a setback for the centralizers and the bureaucrats who wanted to further erase Europe's national distinctions. While many on the left in France thought, mistakenly, that this was a vote against globalization, it does have the happy consequence of leaving Europe's nations free to pursue genuine national interests rather than a synthetic "European" interest.