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Slovakia: Citizens To Vote On Joining The EU

Bratislava, 16 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Today is the first day of a two-day referendum in Slovakia on membership in the European Union. The referendum will only be valid if there is participation from 50 percent of the country's 4.2 million registered voters. In Slovakia's 10 years as an independent country, no referendum has gained the required number of voters to be valid.

Official results are expected to be announced by noon on 18 May.

If turnout falls below 50 percent, parliament can still ratify the EU accession treaty that Slovakia and nine other candidate countries signed on 16 April.

Voters in Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia, and Hungary have already voted to join the EU.