Chirac has finally done the deed – agreeing during a Bastille Day television broadcast, commemorating the French Revolution of 1789, to hold a referendum on the EU constitution.
With opinion polls currently showing a majority in favour of the constitution, he plans the poll for the second half of 2005, which means that it may be held a full six months before the British EU referendum.
In announcing his decision, Chirac declared that he had "confidence" in the French that they would not reject the constitution. "They will therefore be directly consulted," he added.
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