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BREAKING NEWS ~ Exit polls say France votes No on EU constitution

[JURIST] Exit polls are reporting that French voters have rejected the EU constitution by 54.5% to 45.5%. The last official polls closed in Paris and Lyons at 10 PM local time Sunday (4 PM ET). From Paris, Le Monde provides continuing local coverage.

4:13 PM ET - French opposition leaders are already calling on French President Jacques Chirac to resign in the wake of the No vote. Radio France International has more.

4:25 PM ET - AP is reporting that more than 57 percent of French voters have rejected the European Union constitution, according to French Interior Ministry sources. Official figures will eventually be available here [in French] from the Interior Ministry.

5:07 PM ET - Speaking to reporters in London, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that French rejection of the EU constitution raises "profound questions" about the future of Europe. Britain takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union on July 1. Read the full text of Straw's statement. BBC News now has more.

5:20 PM ET - French President Jacques Chirac has made a televised statement [transcript] accepting what he called the "sovereign decision" of the French people, but noting that the vote has made it more difficult for France to defend its interests in Europe. He said he would take account of popular concerns as France continued to honor its European obligations. Watch recorded video via TF1 in Paris.

5:45 PM ET - In a joint statement, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Parliament President Josep Borrell Fontelles, and President of the European Council Jean-Claude Juncker (the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, which currently holds the EU Presidency) have said that the result of the referendum in France shows that national leaderships need to do more to properly explain the complex truths of European integration to their citizens. Read the full text of the EU statement.

7:55 PM ET - The French Interior Ministry [official website] has just announced the final official figures from Sunday's referendum vote, giving the No side 54.87%, and the Yes side 45.13%, very close to the split suggested by the initial exit polls.

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