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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:02, July 11, 2005
Luxembourg voters approve EU constitution treaty
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A clear majority of Luxembourgers have voted in favor of the European Union (EU) constitution in a referendum held Sunday.

The blueprint for the EU's future was backed by 56.52 percent of voters, with 43.48 percent against, preliminary figures showed.

Polls in 553 voting centers opened at 8:00 a.m. local time ( 0600 GMT) and closed at 2:00 p.m. (1200 GMT). Some 223,000 people were eligible to cast ballots. Voting is mandatory for citizens of the Grand Duchy.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker was expected to give a news conference later in the day.

The referendum in the Grand Duchy was the first since EU leaders announced a "period of reflection" on the constitution at their June 16-17 summit. A number of EU member countries have postponed their ratification plans and threw the future of the charter into serious doubt.

A total of 12 countries within the EU have so far ratified the constitution, with only one by popular vote and all the others endorsing the treaty through national parliaments.

The EU constitution is designed to streamline the EU's decision- making process after the bloc brought in 10 new members -- mostly from central and eastern Europe -- last May. It provides for the first EU president and foreign minister and incorporates certain fundamental rights into EU law.

The treaty has to be ratified by all 25 members for it to come legally into force.

Luxembourg is the only EU member country so far to go ahead with a referendum following the Dutch and French rejections a month ago.

Source: Xinhua

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