Officials are predicting a convincing win for the “Yes” campaign in the Republic of Ireland’s second referendum on the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty.
Official results are not expected for a few hours but the Irish Foreign Minister says early results show the “yes” vote is running about 60 percent nationwide. Opinion polls and informal exit polls also suggest there has been a strong swing to the affirmative, 18 months after Irish voters rejected the treaty in the first referendum. Casting his vote, the Prime Minister Brian Cowen was optimistic. He had warned that another rejection would marginalise Ireland in Europe. Analysts say a “Yes” vote this time around would be a big step towards ratification of the reform treaty. Aimed at modernising EU institutions, the Lisbon treaty must be ratified by all 27 member states in the bloc. The only other countries yet to affirm it are Poland and the Czech Republic. Results of the referendum are due by late this afternoon.