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The people have spoken... (not)

Posted by Richard Sunday, February 20, 2005

Provisional results in from the Spanish referendum give 79 percent to the "yes" campaign, with 16 percent voting "no" – according to an exit poll carried out by state television. Interestingly, about five percent of votes cast were blank

Hailed as an "overwhelming victory", the turnout paints a different picture, estimated at 41.5 percent. That means that just under a third of Spain's 35 million voters endorsed the constitution.

For Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, this result is something of a rebuff. He had staked his reputation on a high turnout, looking for at least fifty percent to make the vote credible.

In fact, at four percentage points less than the turnout at the June Euro-elections, Zapatero's credibility has not exactly improved, especially as his pre-poll speech verged on the hysterical when he appealed to voters to participate with the words:

Today we are taking a decision of huge importance for the future of a united Europe. A very important decision for Spain, for its future and well-being.
Mindful of the first Article (I-1) of the constitution, which states: "Reflecting the will of the citizens and states of Europe to build a common future…", it rather looks as though the Zapatero was willing but two thirds of the people went AWOL.