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Irish EU vote on knife edge after weak turnout

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Irish EU vote on knife edge after weak turnout

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A low unofficial turnout of around 45 percent means the result of the Irish referendum on the EU’s Lisbon treaty will go down to the wire. Anything is possible, as the “yes” and “no” camps are within a hair’s breadth of each other. The low turnout is thought to favour the “no” voters. Incomprehension, and a feeling that people are being forced to vote against their will seems to be stronger than pro-European sentiment. It is the first electoral test for Ireland’s new prime minister Brian Cowen, and, as he has been pushing for a “yes” vote, he will carry the can if voters reject the treaty, either by conviction, or by just not understanding it.