A survey showing opposition in France to the European Constitution has thrown the government onto the back foot. With two months to go before a referendum on the text, a slim majority of those who have decided how they will vote say they will reject it.
Many left-wingers are dead set against the treaty, saying it is too oriented towards a market economy: “The text is a kind of liberal straightjacket,” said Communist leader Marie-George Buffet. The latest poll, carried out for a national newspaper, shows 51 per cent of people opposing the Constitution. The text was drafted to help streamline the European Union’s decision-making process as it gets bigger. But there are fears the vote will become a referendum on President Jacques Chirac’s ten years at the top. The centre-right and centre-left political elite are also worried that French voters will see this as a chance to reject the way Europe is going, particularly plans to open accession talks with Turkey. They believe informing the French about the real content of the text is the way to ensure a high turnout and make sure their ‘Yes’ campaign wins.