On Sunday (23 April), France ratified the entry of Britain, Ireland, Norway and Denmark into the Common Market in a nationwide referendum.
On Sunday (23 April), France ratified the entry of Britain, Ireland, Norway and Denmark into the Common Market in a nationwide referendum. But nearly half of the electorate either didn't vote in the poll or cast invalid ballots. The result of the vote reportedly appeared embarrassing to President Georges Pompidou as only 6 per cent of the country's registered voters approved his referendum proposal to ratify the enlargement of the Common Market.
Interior Minister Raymond Marcellin announced that results--complete except for a few overseas territories--showed that 39.64 per cent of the 29 million voters hadn't gone to the polls. Another 7.07 per cent had cast blank or spoiled ballots, which in most cases was a form of abstention.
President Pompidou and his wife cast their ballots in the town of Orvilliers. Among other notable voters was former Foreign Minister Couve de Murville, who cast his ballot in Paris.
The "no" vote, representing 17 per cent of the registered voters, was higher than expected and was hailed as a triumph by the French Communist Party, the only major political group to campaign against the Common Market.
But the high abstention rate and the blank ballot figure reportedly seemed as much due to indifference and the flat nature of the referendum campaign as to anti-Market political moves.
Pointing to the big "yes" vote among these who did go to the polls, government leaders claimed to have won a success. But it's sported that there's little doubt that the results were considerably worse than M. Pompidou and his aides had hoped for. Late last week, Presidential aides were saying that the French leader would be content with 45 per cent of the vote.
M. Pompidou was said to have been counting on the referendum to strengthen France's position in the Common Market, as well as to give a boots to his own political standing.