Sarkozy Breaks Campaign Pledge, Says Treaty Too Complicated For A Vote
Mr Sarkozy, who is trailing the socialist François Hollande in opinion polls seven weeks before the presidential election, came under pressure to promise a referendum on the pact after he pledged to consult the people directly on significant issues if re-elected.
“No,” he replied when asked on French radio yesterday if he would put the treaty to a public ballot. “If you’re dealing with a treaty with 200 articles, 250 articles, I can’t see how you’d formulate a clear question.”
The French electoral calendar means the treaty cannot be passed by parliament until after the election. Mr Hollande has said he will seek to renegotiate parts of the deal if he wins, a move that has been criticised by Mr Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Arnaud Montebourg, a prominent party figure who came third in the presidential primary last autumn and has been campaigning for Mr Hollande, went further than the candidate by predicting the treaty “will never be ratified”.
Mr Montebourg said a left-wing majority in France would never vote for the pact, while there was “not a majority” in favour of it in Ireland, the UK or other European countries. “The ‘Merkozy’ treaty would inflict austerity on all of Europe and plunge us dangerously into recession,” he said.