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May 29, 2005 - Late Breaking News from Our Man in Paris

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Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis, has his Our Man in Paris column in these pages this week, with photographs, on events leading up the big vote – the referendum on the EU Constitution.

Here is the late update – received Sunday, May 29, 2005 at 2:30 pm Pacific Time –


French Vote 'NON'

Paris - Sunday, May 29, 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, rejecting 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 were 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.

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.


[Addition received Monday, May 30, 2005 – 4:53 am Pacific Time]


What a hangover!


Not that it matters now, but Paris voted 66 percent for 'oui.'  So did the Department Bas-Rhin, Strasbourg, and much of Brittany.  Except for Reunion, all of the DOM-TOM areas gave a majority to the 'oui.'  The rest of France and Corsica voted 'non.'  Red for 'non,' all France is colored pink.


Much agitation around the Elysée and Matignon today.  Libération's headline - 'Le Jour le plus non'


There will be more in MetropoleParis….


And here’s a photo of emotions running high in the 14e arrondissement – the Montparnasse area generally – where Ric lives.   I have no idea what the cow is doing there.

Paris NO vote (with cow)

Now what?

Article and Photo Copyright © 2005 – Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis

But life goes on – as you see here -


In Paris: Joe Cocker

Legendary gravel-voiced R 'n' B singer from Yorkshire who the French press once dubbed 'the little Ray Charles', the man who led Woodstock and then got little help from his friends as he crashed out into drug-fazed numbness, but who heroically returned and stormed the stage again in middle age, is on the road promoting his latest album Heart & Soul.

June 6
Le Zenith de Paris
211 avenue Jean-Jaures
75019 Paris
Tel: 01 42 08 60 00

In Avignon: Cesaria Evora

The bare-foot diva from Cape Verde has long been known as the queen of the morna, a kind of Cape Verdean blues sung in Creole-Portuguese.

June 4
Opera Theatre d’Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse
Place de l'Horloge
84000 Avignon
Tel: 04 90 82 81 40

In Bordeaux: Zazie

Isabelle de Truchis de Varennes - better known to French music fans the hippy chic Zazie - is on the road promoting Rod - her latest album with an electronica beat.

June 4
Patinoire Meriadeck
95 cours Marechal Juin
33000 Bordeaux
Tel: 05 56 96 43 21


And so it goes…


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
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This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....