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Dutch Voters Reject EU Constitution


Dutch voters Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected the European Union Constitution, raising questions whether the treaty will survive.

Unofficial final results from the Netherlands show the constitution was rejected by a margin of 62 to 38%. French voters rejected it Sunday. Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende says he is very disappointed, but says his government will respect the results.

Many Dutch voters said they feared a European-wide constitution would undermine national identity, cost jobs, and open the door to more immigration.

All 25 E.U. members must ratify the pact before it takes effect. E.U. leaders say the ratification process must continue.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder says the crisis surrounding the constitution should not become a European crisis. But British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says the Dutch and French votes raise what he calls profound questions about Europe's future direction.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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