Blogging The French Referendum

Update I: Participation rates at 19:00 have just been released: 66,24 %. This means that it will surely clearly surpass the Maastricht final participation of 69,69 %. The poll estimates are talking about a final participation of 75%. This is big for a topic which many said was ‘abstract’. In Spain, the particpation was in the mid forties. The majority of polling stations close at 20:00 (in 40 minutes) but in Paris and Lyon they close at 22:00.

Well it’s a beautiful hot & sunny spring day here in Barcelona. I’ve got my web-radio tuned to France Inter (France Info) and I’m working quietly away updating some things on my website. I think today is an important day for Europe, and I’m going to be blogging live as the news comes in.

The first detail is some information about participation released at mid-day by the French interior Ministry. By 12:00 25.08% of the electorate had voted. This is high when compared with recent elections and with the Maastricht referendum in 1992. (For Maastricht the equivalent figure was 20.39%, it was 13.62% for the last European elections in 2004, whilst it was 21.4 in the first round of the last presidential elections in 2002)

Among those who have already participated is Jaques Chirac. His Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has not been so lucky, a protest demonstration about the proposed route of a high speed train outside the polling booth is delaying his entry.

In total 42 million French citizens can vote, voting closes at 20:00, and we should know the result at 22:00.

One thing is sure the French are voting in large numbers. Difficult to say who will benefit from the high participation. Normally the left benefit from high participation levels, more left voters favour the ‘no’, so this could clinch it for the ‘no’ vote. But then again, I am guessing, and could be completely wrong (please correct me if you have reason to think I’m wrong).

Anyway, we’ll know soon enough.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".