On the evening of May 26, 2005, with the polls suggesting that the
European Constitution was veering toward defeat, Jacques Chirac made a
final exhortation to the French public. He argued that the French were
voting not on a sectarian political issue but on an issue that would
determine the future of themselves, their children, France, and Europe.
Chirac characterized the choice before French citizens as “neither
right nor left.” His use of a phrase more commonly associated with
Vichy displayed an uncharacteristic historical amnesia and suggests that
Chirac and his party were grabbing at straws in those final days.