Irish Vote 'No' on European Union Treaty
By VOA News
13 June 2008
A voter casts her ballot in a pollling centre in Dublin city centre, 12 Jun 2008
Ireland's state broadcaster, RTE, says Irish voters have rejected the new European Union treaty.
Official results of Thursday's referendum will not be available until later Friday, but Ireland's justice minister Dermot Ahern also has made the same projection that the treaty is going down to defeat.
Irish media say voter turnout was about 45 percent; some analysts had said a low turnout would favor a "no" vote on the EU treaty.
If Ireland's final vote is "no," it is unclear what EU leaders will do next. EU rules call for unanimous approval of the treaty by all 27 member nations. Most countries' parliaments have already voted "yes"; Ireland was the only EU member holding a referendum.
The treaty would reform Europe-wide institutions, streamline the EU bureaucracy and give greater executive powers to EU leaders, the president and foreign policy chief.
The treaty is a simplified version of the draft EU constitution that was rejected by Dutch and French voters in 2005. Parliaments in 18 countries have already ratified the current version of the treaty.