Courtesy of Le Monde - brought to our attention by a vigilant reader – some details on the French referendum are trickling in.
The turnout has been reported to be 25.08 percent at midday – with the turnout in Paris at 18.2 percent - compared with 20.39 percent at the same time during the Maastricht referendum on 20 September 1992.
By contrast, there have been reported "massive abstentions" in the overseas Departements. These reached 77.79 percent in Guadeloupe, 71.63 percent in Martinique, the French West Indies, and 76.85 percent in Guyana. However, even this low turnout was higher than that recorded in the Maastricht referendum, by about five points.
As to mainland France, in the Euro-elections on 13 June last, only 13.56 percent of registered voters had gone to the ballot boxes by midday. In many Departements, the turnout has been reported as exceeding 30 percent although, in some, a small decline has been noted.
The weather is reckoned to have a crucial effect on the overall turnout, with good weather tending to increase the abstentions, and while the weather is currently good, rain and storms are predicted in Atlantic northern France later today.
Political analysts remained cautious about the implications of a strong turnout, with both sides claiming it will favour them.
In total, nearly 42 million are eligible to vote and the polling stations will stay open until 8 pm in the provinces (7 pm our time) with an extension to 10 pm (9 pm our time) in Paris and Lyon. By law, the first estimates of results cannot be announced before 10pm.