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Spanish, French leaders rally for European constitution

[JURIST] French President Jacques Chirac [official website] is set to join Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero [Wikipedia.com profile] in Barcelona Friday at a rally for the "Yes" side in Spain's upcoming referendum on the European Constitution, slated for February 20. The 25-nation constitution [EU history of the constitution; press pack] signed on October 29, establishes a permanent president and foreign-policy chief, creates an EU diplomatic service, improves crime-fighting and judicial cooperation, incorporates a charter of basic rights, simplifies voting on EU laws and shrinks the Brussel's based executive and regulatory arm. Eight other nations, including France, the UK, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Poland are also expected to hold referenda on the issue. Lithuania, Hungary and Slovenia have already ratified, and additional legislative ratifications will follow. All 25 EU member states must ratify before the constitution comes into force. Polls show that Spanish voters are likely to approve the European pact. Bloomberg has more. Visit the Spanish government's official website for the referendum campaign [in Spanish].

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