(UPDATED)THE TALLY IS NEARLY COMPLETE IN FRANCE, AND IT LOOKS as though voters have roundly rejected the EU constitution, according to Drudge. This severe blow to Jacques Chirac's political chances appears to have been brouhgt about by a combination of socialist groups, who believe the treaty is too "capitalist," and elements who say the constitution as an end to French nationalism.
Earlier, the Interior Ministry said that with about 83 percent of the votes counted, the referendum was rejected by 57.26 percent of voters. It was supported by 42.74 percent.
All 25 EU members must ratify the text for it to take effect as planned by Nov. 1, 2006 _ and nine already have done so. The Dutch vote Wednesday, with polls showing opposition to the constitution there running at about 60 percent.
France's rejection could set the continent's plans back by years. The nation was a primary architect of European unity.
It's hard to imagine what problem the socialists could have had with the treaty, as it was loaded with the kind of "positive rights" and nanny state promises that they love so much. It even forbade future scrutiny and challenge to the wisdom of it's socialist authors. The nationalism argument is easier to understand, as the constitution would appear to have subjugated France to the whims of all of Europe.
Perhaps the treaties supporters should have pushed the "counter-balance" to America a little bit harder. Nothing could get Europe to unite better than a plea to stick it in America's ear.
UPDATE: Wapo is reporting defeat for the constitution by a sizable margin.
With 92 percent of votes counted, the treaty was rejected by 56.14 percent of voters, the Interior Ministry said. It was supported by 43.86 percent.