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2005: French say 'non' to EU constitution

French voters have overwhelmingly rejected the European Union's proposed constitution in a key referendum, sending reverberations right across Europe.

Almost 55% of people voted "No", with 45% in favour. Turnout was high, at about 70%.

The vote could deal a fatal blow to the EU constitution, which needs to be ratified by all 25 member states.

President Jacques Chirac accepted the voters' "sovereign decision", but said it created "a difficult context for the defence of our interests in Europe".

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