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The French Vote 'NON'

photo, vote non

Partial Gloom In Paris

Paris:– Sunday, 29. May 2005:– After one of the hardest–fought campaigns anyone can remember in France, polling for acceptance or rejection of the European Constitution ended tonight at 20:00 throughout France and at 22:00 in Paris and Lyon. Voter turnout was high and the suspense stretched its tendons to the limit, to the very end.

With the closing of the polls, the 'winner' has turned out to be the partisans of the NON vote, rejectingposter, vote non, villiers the European Constitution which would have formed the basis of law for 450 million Europeans, from the Arctic to the Mediterranean, from the Atlantic to Russia.

Initial estimates have posted the results as 55% for the 'non' and 45% for the 'oui.' This is decisive, coupled with a national turnout estimated to be 70 percent of registered voters, both in France and in its overseas territories.

This is a bitter blow to all centrist leaders from right to left and is an electroshock for France's Président, Jacques Chirac, who called for the vote in the first place. Tonight's vote comes as yet another in a string of electoral rejections of his presidency.

Aside from Spain which has already voted to accept the Constitution, there are eight other countries that have planned referendums. Holland, which has had a problem getting anyone interested in the campaign which winds up at the ballot boxes on Wednesday, will not be reassured by tonight's result in France.

Meanwhile there is gloom in the various headquarters of the mainstream parties here, while parties by opponents were already under way before the polls closed, with the Communists singing the 'Internationale.' A reporter stationed at the headquarters of the dissident Socialists said they werephoto, polling station, paris 14 ready to 'faire la fête toute la nuit.'

Jacques Chirac, speaking from the Elysée Palace 30 minutes after polls closed said, "It's your decision," and went on to say that France will continue to respect its obligations vis–a–vis Europe. But in conclusion he added that the French can expect a 'nouvelle impulsion' from the government within a few days.

Polling stations in Paris saw a heavy turnout today.

Leader of the president's party, the UMP, Nicolas Sarkozy, on television immediately afterwards, gave what sounded like a campaign speech, for president of France, as if 2007 isn't far off.

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