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Europe

Hungary Ratifies EU Constitution

The Hungarian Parliament has ratified the European Constitution by 304 votes to nine. There were eight abstentions and 64 members of the parliament were absent at the time of the vote.

The Hungarian Parliament has ratified the European Constitution by 304 votes to nine on Monday. There were eight abstentions and 64 members of the parliament were absent at the time of the vote. But the two-thirds majority needed to ratify the Constitution was easily achieved and Budapest becomes the second EU state after Lithuania to ratify the text. The Constitution needs to be ratified by all 25 member states to come into force. If all countries pass the Constitution, it will come into force on Nov. 1, 2006. Latvia is expected to be next to ratify the treaty in January. At least nine countries are planning to hold a referendum on the issue, beginning with Spain on Feb. 20. Some referendums are expected to result in a comfortable win for the "yes" camp. Others - such as in Britain and France - are expected to be much closer. Public opinion in Britain has been consistently hostile to the Constitution. (EUobserver.com)

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