Pressure is mounting on French President Jacques Chirac to hold a referendum on the European Constitution after Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy joined the clamor for a popular vote on the issue.
After France's new finance minister Nicolas Sarkozy came out in favor of holding a popular vote on the European Constitution, pressure is mounting on President Jacques Chirac to call for a referendum on the issue. Sarkozy, who is widely seen as a potential successor to Chirac, said on Sunday, "I do not see how it would be possible to tell the French people that the European Constitution is a major document and to then draw the conclusion that it should be adopted by parliamentarians, without taking the trouble directly to ask the people's opinion." But Chirac, who has the final say on the issue, was quick to react. A spokesman for his office said, "The President of the Republic will take his decision when the right time comes. That moment has not yet come." Chirac has stated on many occasions that he will not decide until the final Constitutional document is on the table, probably in June. Sarkozy said that he would be "in line with the decision of the President, whatever that decision may be." (EUobserver.com)