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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dutch Poised to Follow France in Rejecting EU Constitution

AMSTERDAM -- The Dutch voted in a referendum on the European Union Constitution on Wednesday, with polls showing they will join the French in decisively rejecting the treaty, deepening a crisis in the bloc.

Sunny weather encouraged many people to cast an early vote in the first national referendum in the Netherlands, but there was little sign the warmth had softened opposition to the constitution in one of the bloc's six founding members.

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's center-right government and the opposition Labor party campaigned for a "yes" vote, but opinion polls point to a solid "no" majority, increasing since France shunned the charter three days ago.

"I hope and I am confident that the voters will vote in great numbers and reject this terrible constitution," said anti-immigration politician and "no" campaigner Geert Wilders.

Memories of World War II. The euro. The prospect of further European Union expansion. Religion. Just plain gut feeling. "No" voters in the referendum had their reasons for rejecting the EU Constitution.

"I voted against, of course. I've lived through the war, and we shouldn't be giving it all away to those fascist countries," said pensioner Henk Kuit, citing Germany, France and Spain.

Aernout Claasen, an early "no" voter in Amsterdam, said mainstream politicians were "indoctrinating" the people.

"This Europe is not ready for a constitution. It first needs to harmonize its social security and tax laws," he said.