What is the research question in this article? Several months after the French referendum, Gilles Ivaldi is trying to answer to the question How can we characterize the disapproval of the French referendum on the European Constitutional Treaty held on 29 May 2005?
The main hypothesis just after the ballot was close was for commentators a rejection of the Government because there was a high mobilization unlike European elections which mobilize in 2004 not even half of French voters. This hypothesis might be validated for those commentators by the eviction of the Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin by Dominique de Villepin and the discrete participation of the unofficial right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy. The economic and social situation during the last term of Jacques Chirac was indeed stagnant, with a high employment rate. If we are following this idea, the 2005 rejection relies on the logic of intermediate votes between French presidential elections (like 2004 regional and European elections). The article stresses out a broader phenomenon which is a mistrust of European and national elites.
This hypothesis backs up the syndrome' of the 2002 presidential election with the eviction of the former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin April 21th.
Another explanation might consider the 2005 as a milestone for French politics towards the European Union integration process. The European Constitutional Treaty in a way was the first retrospective' (p. 49) for French voters to question the validity and the accuracy of the EU construction. Beyond discontent of the governing leaders of 2005, the ECT might be a revenge of Maastricht for advocates of the sovereignty principle' as especially for most left-wing voters, a way to stress their disappointment because they believed too strongly of promises of an economic and social Europe made by François Mitterrand and Jacques Delors during the 1992 campaign.
[...] Therefore, there is a strong historical approach. Gilles Invaldi, does not hesitate to look back on political parties conventions about the EU, their traditions and attachments their attitudes during the Maastricht vote, on their leaders who positioned themselves about the EU construction. There is a broad comparison and insights from the Maastricht's referendum facts, political events and structural cleavages at that time. For the 2005 results, Gilles Invaldi also illustrates its point with an analysis of trade-unions positioning concerning . [...]
[...] On the other hand, the 2012 presidential election fitted more into the political configuration of the ECT referendum. Main causes? The economic and social crisis since 2008, the Lisbon Treaty in 2007 where the Parliament was preferred to the referendum option for ratification, the new governance of the Economic and Monetary Union with the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance. Findings of this article at least show the broad heterogeneity of voters. Indeed, the ‘No' regrouped anti-EU, anti-Turkey membership (even if, it was not in the ECT), policy changes embodied by the European Constitution, a lack of understanding of the Treaty (very complex, hardly intelligible if not a specialist in Law or Politics), voters against the incumbent majority . [...]
[...] Unlike the Treaty of Maastricht (in the middle of a high approval by French citizens just after the end of the Cold War with a high involvement of the President Francois Mitterrand and the President of the European Commission Jacques Delors), the ECT referendum process in the last four months occurred in a ‘bitter public debate' (p.48). There was on both votes a high mobilisation ( of voters) and a fierce competition of pros and cons of the Treaty. The rejection of the Treaty led to a political crisis in France, and another proof after the 2002 presidential elections, a growing feeling an anti-Elites feeling for French citizens (phenomenon that exists in every Western democracies). Research questions and hypothesis What is the research question in this article? [...]
[...] However his answer for his research question is not very clear. Can we characterise the 2005 referendum as a ‘First-Order' or ‘Second-Order' model? The article is still a little bit confusing, unclear for answering this point. There is some signs (political mobilisation with a turn out closer to legislative elections than European elections, real debates etc.) that the referendum of 2005 was a ‘first-order' vote for French citizens, nevertheless, still ‘second-order components' remain; for instance, the legacy of this referendum for latter domestic elections. [...]
[...] 49) for French voters to question the validity and the accuracy of the EU construction. Beyond discontent of the governing leaders of 2005, the ECT might be a revenge of Maastricht for advocates of the ‘sovereignty principle' as especially for most left-wing voters, a way to stress their disappointment because they believed too strongly of promises of an economic and social Europe made by François Mitterrand and Jacques Delors during the 1992 campaign. Critics of the existing literature Gilles Ivaldi for this article is using the first attempt to build a theoretical framework, the ‘Second-Order' model (Reif and Schmitt, 1980). [...]
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