Polls open as Ireland's 2.9 million voters decide on Treaty of Nice

19-10-2002

Polls opened on Saturday morning in Ireland as its 2.9 million voters decide whether to accept or reject the European Union Treaty of Nice, which enables enlargement of the bloc. This is Ireland's second referendum on the treaty and the outcome of the poll will be watched closely by the 10 countries, including the Czech Republic, hoping to join the EU in 2004, as well as Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, who hope to join at a later stage. Ireland rejected the Nice Treaty in June 2001 by 54 percent in a referendum. Latest opinion polls show 42 per cent of the electorate intend to vote "yes" this time while 29 percent intend to vote "no". Ireland is the only EU member state to hold a referendum on the Treaty of Nice. National parliaments decided in the other 14 member states. The final result of the referendum is expected on Sunday evening.