Jospin comeback for EU constitution

28th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 28 (AFP) - Former French Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin was to make his first television appearance in three years later Thursday in a bid to persuade skeptical left-leaning voters to approve the EU constitution.

PARIS, April 28 (AFP) - Former French Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin was to make his first television appearance in three years later Thursday in a bid to persuade skeptical left-leaning voters to approve the EU constitution.  

Jospin, who went into self-imposed quasi-retirement after his humiliating defeat in the first round of the 2002 presidential election, forcefully stepped back into the public eye last weekend, calling on his party to back the treaty.  

In a hard-hitting speech, he urged Socialists to approve the EU constitution in a May 29 referendum out of "respect for party members, party cohesion and even the idea of democracy based on respect for majority rule".  

The opposition Socialists have been split apart by the upcoming referendum, with the party leadership campaigning for a 'yes' vote alongside President Jacques Chirac's ruling center-right Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).  

An internal PS vote approved the text, but party heavyweights like former prime minister Laurent Fabius are campaigning for the 'no' camp.  

With PS leader Francois Hollande failing to rally the political left, where pollsters have noted the sharpest growth in the 'no' camp, Jospin is now expected to play a key role in the party's campaign for the constitution.  

Jospin will make a 20-minute appearance on state-owned France 2 television at about 8:40 pm.

Since mid-March, nearly two dozen surveys have indicated that a majority of French voters will reject the proposed constitution on May 29, with opposition hovering between 51 and 58 percent.  

"The Socialist electorate is hesitant. Jospin will give the left's 'yes' campaign a boost," said former Socialist agriculture minister Jean Glavany, who is close to Jospin.  

Jospin "can convince the two or three percent of left-wing voters" needed to put the 'yes' camp back in front, his former spokesman Manuel Valls told Le Figaro newspaper.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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