For the second time, Ireland votes on Lisbon

Irish voters are voting in a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty following last year’s Irish rejection of the EU reform treaty in a high-stakes vote that could be a defining moment for the future of the European Union.


AFP - Polling stations opened Friday as Ireland voted for a second time on whether to adopt the European Union's Lisbon Treaty.

The polls opened at 7:00 am (0600 GMT) and are due to close 15 hours later at 10:00 pm (2100 GMT).

European leaders are anxiously hoping for an end to the constitutional deadlock gripping the 27-nation bloc since June 2008 when Irish voters rejected the treaty -- which aims to streamline EU decision-making -- by 53.4 percent.

Some 3,078,032 Irish citizens are eligible to vote.

The referendum paper is in Gaelic and English, with voters being asked: "Do you approve of the proposal to amend the constitution contained in the undermentioned bill1?

"Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty of Lisbon) Bill 2009."

Voters then have to mark X in the box besides "ta/yes" if they approve of the proposal, or "nil/no" if they do not approve.

Citizens on some remote western islands have already voted on Wednesday and Thursday, in case bad weather prevented the ballot boxes from being brought back to the mainland.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen is due to vote at in his home constituency of Laois-Offaly at Mucklagh National School in Tullamore, central Ireland.

The 43 constituencies begin counting the votes at 9:00am (0800 GMT) on Saturday, firstly verifying the number of papers in the ballot boxes, followed by the counting of Yes and No votes.

The local figures are then forwarded to the count centre at Dublin Castle. Full results could be known as early as Saturday afternoon.



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