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Ireland holds second referendum on EU reform treaty

[JURIST] Irish voters went to the polls for a second time Friday to vote on the European Union (EU) reform treaty, also known as the Lisbon Treaty [EU materials; text]. Irish voters previously rejected the treaty, and Ireland agreed in June to hold a second referendum [JURIST reports] after EU leaders agreed to certain concessions [presidency conclusions, PDF], including legal guarantees that the treaty would not affect taxation, abortion, or military neutrality laws. Polling stations were to remain open for 15 hours, and results are expected [Irish Times report] Saturday evening. Voter turnout appears to have increased [Dow Jones report] over last year's vote.

Last week, German President Horst Koehler [official website, in German] signed [JURIST report] the Lisbon Treaty, completing the country's problematic ratification process, but efforts to ratify [JURIST news archive] the treaty in all of the 27 member countries have met some obstacles. Although the treaty has now been approved in 24 countries, Ireland's rejection of the treaty last year led Czech President Vaclav Klaus [official website] to refuse to sign the measure, despite approval [JURIST report] by the Czech Senate [official website]. In July 2008, Polish President Lech Kaczynski [official website] also refused to sign [JURIST report] the treaty despite parliamentary approval, calling it "pointless" in light of the Irish rejection.

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