Institutional Affairs

Spanish referendum: massive 'yes' vote but poor turnout

20.02.05 @ 21:24

  1. By Richard Carter

Exit polls from Spain's referendum on the European Constitution have shown a massive win for the "yes" camp but a low turnout.

According to preliminary results, over three-quarters (78.5 percent) of the Spanish people voted in favour of the Treaty, with only 16.2 percent voting "no".

However, the turnout appeared to be disappointing. Socialist Party Spokesman Jose Blanco told reporters in Spain the participation level at 20.00 CET was 41.5 percent.

He reminded journalists that this was similar to the turnout in the European elections last summer.

"There is no uncertainty over the result", said Mr Blanco. "We hope that this significant result for Spain will be a positive result for Europe".

Casting his vote this morning, with 14 million Spaniards, Premier Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero said, "Today we are taking a decision of huge importance for the future of a United Europe. A very important for Spain, for its future and its well-being".

Spaniards were invited to answer the question: "do you approve the treaty establishing a constitution for Europe?"

The referendum is non-binding. The Spanish parliament still needs to ratify the Treaty".

The Spanish authorities made a huge effort to inform its citizens about the Constitution, with six million copies of the text made available and 20 million information leaflets distributed.

And the main two parties, the Socialist PSOE and the conservative PP, were in favour of the Treaty, along with the media.

Spain is the first country to put the Constitution to a vote.

Three countries - Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia - have already ratified the text via their parliaments.