Spain’s lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly ratified the European Constitution.
The two-and-a-half hour debate was kicked-off by Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero who said his country had “blazed a trail” with its commitment to Europe. Most of Spains political parties backed the constitution. The only glimmer of criticism came from the centre-right Popular Party. It thought that Spain had too easily given up some voting rights but had seen nothing in return from France and Germany when it came to budget negotiations. In a referendum in February Europhile Spaniards approved the constitution by 77 per cent. But legally the Spanish parliament has to ratify the it and it now goes to the senate for final approval. But the constitution is expected to get a much rougher ride when France votes in a referendum on May the 29th. Polls there still show that President Jacques Chirac is expected to get a bloody nose with the French poised to reject theconstitution.