Monday, February 21, 2005

Spain today became the first European Union member to ratify the new EU Constitution by a referendum. With a vote of 77%, the Yes camp, lead by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, was the winner. Speaking about the result he said, “Today has been a great day for all Europeans”. The No campaigners, who achieved 17% of the vote, were eager to point out the low turnout of 42%.

With the referendum, one in three Spaniards gave a yes vote. This is in stark contrast to the 90% of the Spanish Parliament that voted yes for the Constitution.

Despite the apparent enthusiasm by Spaniards for the new constitution, a recent government poll indicated only one in ten actually knew anything about its contents.

The official campaign was mainly dedicated to ask for the yes vote, without explaining the contents of the text. Very popular faces of singers and footballers were used for this campaign.

Although a Yes vote is a welcome start for the constitution – which must be ratified by all 25 member states by November 2006 – Spain was seen by many political commentators as an easy win. It is expected that of the twenty-five countries, Britain is the most likely to vote No.