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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 June 2007, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Spain seeks words for its anthem
By Danny Wood
BBC News, Madrid

Spain's opposition Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy (file picture)
Mr Rajoy wants to have words as well as a tune
The French sing the Marseillaise, the British chant God Save the Queen.

But Spain, home to one of Europe's oldest national anthems, has never had an official verse to go with the tune.

Now Spain's opposition leader Mariano Rajoy is presenting an initiative in parliament to create a commission to write words for the anthem.

The proposal has some enthusiastic support, but Spain is a country with strong separatist feelings in regions like the Basque country and Catalonia.

Many Spaniards think it is going to be very difficult to find words that satisfy everyone.

Scepticism

Spain has the Royal Spanish March, but when this military tune became the national melody in the late 18th Century, despite several attempts, it has never had officially accepted lyrics to sing with it.

On the streets of Madrid however some people are quite negative about the idea of finding some.

"For me, having words or lyrics in the national anthem is not very important," says one Madrid man.

"Music is OK. It's fine to identify a country with music, but a country with words, no I don't like it."

Other Spaniards support the initiative, but not out of patriotism, more out of the embarrassment they experience at big events like international football games.

"Yes, I would like that because we don't know what to do when they play music. We don't know what to sing," a woman says.

Mr Rajoy says two or three months should be enough for a parliamentary commission to produce a verse for the national hymn.

If that happens, Foreign Affairs Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos says he will sing the new words with passion.


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