One week left to say “Oui”

In my first post on the French referendum on the proposed EU constitution, I said that “It will be very interesting to see how this plays out over the next six weeks. My hunch is that support for the “yes” side will increase as the vote nears.” Drezner apparently gets results from the French!: referendum.gif ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
590342_1335285144_referendum2.gif
590342_1335285144_referendum2.gif

In my first post on the French referendum on the proposed EU constitution, I said that "It will be very interesting to see how this plays out over the next six weeks. My hunch is that support for the "yes" side will increase as the vote nears." Drezner apparently gets results from the French!:

So does this mean the French will say "Oui"? Not necessarily. While the macro trend has been towards a tightening of the vote, the micro trend over the past few days has seen the "Non" vote gain strength. What's also interesting is that just as Chirac has used the logic of realpolitik to seel the constitution, opponents have also turned to realism. John Thornhill reports in the Finanicial Times:

At a rally of 5,000 supporters in Paris on Saturday, Philippe de Villiers, the leader of the nationalist Movement for France, said that the adoption of the constitution would strip Europe's nations of their sovereignty and transfer too much power to Brussels. "To have 450m people run by 18 technocrats is a totalitarian idea from the last century," he said. Mr de Villiers, who has been one of the most energetic No campaigners drawing support from conservative Catholic, Gaullist and sovereigntist traditions, said that France had a "special mission" in the world, thanks to its historical, geographic, and linguistic links, which should never be abandoned. "It is impossible to imagine Europe without France. But France is also an extra-European power, a world power," he said to wild applause.

In my first post on the French referendum on the proposed EU constitution, I said that “It will be very interesting to see how this plays out over the next six weeks. My hunch is that support for the “yes” side will increase as the vote nears.” Drezner apparently gets results from the French!:

referendum.gif

referendum.gif

So does this mean the French will say “Oui”? Not necessarily. While the macro trend has been towards a tightening of the vote, the micro trend over the past few days has seen the “Non” vote gain strength. What’s also interesting is that just as Chirac has used the logic of realpolitik to seel the constitution, opponents have also turned to realism. John Thornhill reports in the Finanicial Times:

At a rally of 5,000 supporters in Paris on Saturday, Philippe de Villiers, the leader of the nationalist Movement for France, said that the adoption of the constitution would strip Europe’s nations of their sovereignty and transfer too much power to Brussels. “To have 450m people run by 18 technocrats is a totalitarian idea from the last century,” he said. Mr de Villiers, who has been one of the most energetic No campaigners drawing support from conservative Catholic, Gaullist and sovereigntist traditions, said that France had a “special mission” in the world, thanks to its historical, geographic, and linguistic links, which should never be abandoned. “It is impossible to imagine Europe without France. But France is also an extra-European power, a world power,” he said to wild applause.

Meanwhile, another FT story by Thornhill suggests that dissatisfaction with the constitution is not limited to France. The Netherlands, which also has a referendum next week, is even more hostile:

Dutch opinion polls show resistance to the treaty hardening. On Friday a poll by TNS NIPO, for RTL television news, had the No campaign with 54 per cent and Yes at 27 per cent. The same day a poll by Interview NSS for Nova television gave No 63 per cent and Yes 37 per cent.

One caveat to all this — Henry Farrell believes that the FT’s reporting on this has been biased towards the “No” camp. One final trend worth noting — both FT stories note the extent to which foreign politicians are campaigning in France to try and persuade voters. For the “non” camp, it’s “anti-constitution MEPs from several European countries, including the UK, Sweden, Denmark, and Poland.” For the “oui” camp, it’s German prime minister Gerhard Schroeder and Spanish PM Jos? Luis Rodr?guez Zapatero. My guess is that these efforts will be a wash, but if “oui” wins, it’s an interesting data point on the question of how other countries can influence voting. Developing… until next week.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is the co-director of the Russia and Eurasia Program. Twitter: @dandrezner

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