By Humphrey Carter
THE countdown to Spain's referendum on the European Constitution has begun with less than a month to go until polling day on February 20, but a third of the Balearic population does not have the right to vote.

The electoral census office confirmed yesterday that, of the 960.000-strong population, a total of 689.996 people can vote in the Balearics with 9.877 of the electorate living overseas. But as the Bulletin has already reported, 60'000 European Union citizens resident in the Balearics and on the electoral role, have been banned from voting on the referendum by the Spanish government which claims matters of foreign policy are the sole concern of Spaniards.

Over the next few weeks, all those entitled to vote will receive their voting slips via the mail and those wishing to vote by e-mail have until February 10 to apply for the digital voting slip at the post office.

The big question of February 20 which all the EU citizens living in the Balearics and across Spain are not allowed to answer is Do you approve of the Treaty which will form the European Constitution?

The government has recently launched a massive publicity campaign to not only inform the public about the Constitution but, more importantly, convince the electorate to vote “yes”.

Central government's decision not to allow European Union citizens resident in Spain the right to vote in the referendum has angered the foreign community.

However, Brussels has allowed each government holding a referendum to decide the grounds on which it will be carried out. So European Union citizens in Spain have had no one to turn to in an attempt to defend their right to vote.

What British residents here in Spain are worried about is that Tony Blair may also snub them when Britain holds its referendum.
Blair has already mooted his desire to allow all European Union residents in Britain to vote. There are fears that he may only open the referendum up to people living in the United Kingdom. This could mean that millions of Britons living in the European Union, but outside the United Kingdom, will have no say in the future of Europe.


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