Returns indicate Ireland rejects EU treaty
DUBLIN, Ireland -- Preliminary returns Friday indicated that Ireland voted against ratifying a new governing treaty for the European Union, election officials said.
While a final declaration wasn't expected until late Friday, returns indicated 52 percent of Irish voters cast votes against the treaty and 48 percent voted in favor of it, The Times of London reported.
The treaty, officially called the Lisbon Treaty, needs the approval of all 27 EU members to take effect. Of all the member countries, only Ireland requires a popular vote.
"Call it hubris," a pro-treaty Irish leader told The Times. "People seem to have forgotten what Ireland was like before we received European funding. They seem to think that we created our success all by ourselves. They are wrong."
Declan Ganley, organizer of Libertas, which opposes the treaty, said its defeat gives Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen "a mandate to go back to Brussels and build a better deal. I have faith in him that he will do that."
A "no" vote means the EU would operate under present rules. In practical terms, leaders would have to decide whether to draw up another constitution or ask the Irish people to vote again, CNN said.
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