Wednesday, May 18, 2005
It looks like the "No" side might get the upper hand in the French referendum on the EU constitution. Sadly, if that happens, it will be for all the wrong reasons:
In the TNS-Sofres poll, 54% of Socialist voters said they now planned to vote no, 4% more than at the end of April, while support for the yes camp among the voters of the ruling centre-right - while still at 71% - had slid 6%.So the French center-right electorate is still rather overwhelmingly in favour, the Socialists less so, with the rest of the opposition coming from Le Pen's far-right and the communists. So why is the left mainly driving the "No" vote?
Mainstream left opposition, led by the former Socialist prime minister Laurent Fabius - who yesterday became the first French Socialist ever to be interviewed in the Communist daily L'Humanité - has focused on the claim that the constitution enshrines a free-market vision of Europe that is incompatible with France's social values, and that adopting the treaty will amount to waving goodbye to French jobs and French public services...Yep, if the EU constitution goes down in flames in France in less than two weeks' time, it will be because a very significant section of the French electorate thinks that the EU is too right-wing.
"Anxiety about unemployment, the fear of a liberal, free market Europe that may destroy French jobs, has returned," said Brice Teinturier, director of political polling at TNS-Sofres. "The controversy over a free-market Europe being fanned by the leftwing no camp is having a marked effect, as is a general loss of momentum in the yes camp."