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Europe

Giscard: France Could Hold Referendum in Spring 2005

Former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, one of the chief authors of the EU Constitution, predicted France would hold a referendum on the charter in early 2005.

France could hold a referendum on the Constitution next spring, according to former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. Speaking in Brussels on Monday, Giscard said, "Things do seem to be pointing in the direction of a referendum," referring to the fact that French Interior Minister Dominque de Villepin spoke out in favor of a poll on Sunday. Moreover, the day after the Constitution was signed, every party, including President Jacques Chirac's own center-right UMP, called on him to hold a vote on the text, according to Le Nouvel Observateur. Giscard said that he thought a referendum "could well take place in spring 2005." But like other politicians, the architect of the draft Constitution adopted by EU leaders on Friday, was wary of the problems that are likely to occur with ratification. "We have to prepare the ground thoroughly," he said while warning against some leaders who have "got into the habit of deflecting certain problems to the European level." (EUobserver.com)

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