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Spain Votes in First Test of European Constitution

Spain is voting Sunday in the first national referendum on the new European Union constitution.

The EU charter is expected to win approval easily, but analysts say there are concerns about how many of Spain's 35 million voters will cast ballots in the nonbinding referendum.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says the constitution will give EU members a common identity while maintaining their individuality. It is designed to streamline decision-making in the 25-nation union, which last year brought in 10 new members, most from eastern Europe.

Nine European states - including France, one of the founding EU members - have scheduled votes similar to the Spanish referendum, but Germany and other nations have chosen to submit the text to their parliaments rather than to a popular vote.

Lithuania and Hungary already have approved the constitution, which must be ratified by all EU members before it can take effect.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.