THE result of the referendum on the EU constitution has seen the French public strike a blow at both its government and Europe.
Officially the no vote totalled 54.9 per cent, with a turnout of 70 per cent, and President Jacques Chirac has promised to act on the result.
The first thing that is likely to happen is a reshuffle of his government with his prime minister, Jean-Pierre Rafarrin, set to be sacked.
Across the country the no vote swept the board with just Brittany, Paris and Alsace supporting the constitution.
It is possible to see the results down to the local level on the Interior Ministry website, just pick a department and then commune.
Naturally the opposition parties are celebrating with the ‘non’ group of the Socialist party claiming the rejection was not of Europe, but of a liberal Europe.
But the Socialist party also faces some tough decisions as its leadership supported the ‘oui’ campaign, yet 60 per cent of the membership voted ‘non’.
As for Europe, with the Dutch referendum due on Wednesday the constitution may well be dead by the end of the week.
So now are we set to see a two-track Europe develop? With those supporting a liberal free-market position, which includes the UK, working together, whilst France and to an extent Germany are forced to deal with their domestic problems first.
What are your thoughts on the result, where does it leave France?