France 'rejects EU constitution'
French voters have rejected the proposed EU constitution in Sunday's referendum, according to exit polls.
The polls give the "No" side 55% - in line with surveys published in the run-up to the vote.
If confirmed, the result will be a blow to President Jacques Chirac and France's two main political parties, which campaigned for a "Yes".
It could deal a fatal blow to the EU constitution, which the Union has been working on since the start of 2002.
The constitution cannot come into force unless it is ratified by all 25 EU members. So far nine had done so.
Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said the vote was a "real disappointment".
He added that other EU countries should go ahead with their own votes regardless.
Eight other national referendums are still to come, including one in the Netherlands on Wednesday, where the "No" side is also leading in the polls.
There were cheers from supporters of the "No" campaign when the exit polls results were announced just after voting ended at 2100 GMT.
Those who rejected the treaty included Communists, various left-wing groups, dissident socialists and far-right parties.
The constitution was finalised last year after long and difficult negotiations among EU governments.
The treaty includes the union's Charter of Fundamental Rights and establishes a foreign minister.
Member states can ratify the document through a referendum or by parliamentary vote. Germany ratified it on Friday.
Well, they've really set the cat among the pigeons now.