this past weekend, the Irish people voted a second time on what’s known as the Lisbon Treaty. (the EU has this obfuscating tendency to name all their treaties after the location in which they are signed.) when it came up the first time (in 2008), voters rejected it by a vote of 47% to 53%. of the member nations of the EU, Ireland is the only one to have presented the Treaty of Lisbon to the populace for a referendum, as well as a parliamentary vote.
discussion on a revote arose almost immediately after the previous failed attempt, and well before the time I was in Ireland both sides of the campaign were laying out their positions. I saw the first signs for and against Lisbon tacked up on light posts and street signs in Tralee the day I dropped Nico and Kelly at the train station. they reminded me a lot of the signs people put up prior to elections in California: whereas in Wisconsin and Illinois, yard signs and placards are limited to private yards and front windows, the same does not necessarily hold in California or Ireland. and, not unlike signs from California proposition campaigns, those for and against Lisbon also had an air of sensationalism or fatalism, particularly with respect to the effect that the treaty would have on jobs. not unlike anti-immigrant slogans that one might see across Southern California.
I wish I’d taken a picture of some of the signs so that I could share them here. (the one here I borrowed from the BBC, but it’ll give you the gist.) thinking on it, actually, I’m actually surprised that there weren’t more readio ads about it (though there were plenty).
the Treaty of Lisbon amends previous treaties on the governance of the European Union. some of its primary proposed changes include a greater role for the organization in developing a comprehensive foreign policy, and the election of a president to the European Council to a two-and-a-half year term. this is different from the current procedure whereby the post of the President-in-Office of the Council is held by the head of government of the country currently holding the presidency. the current post rotates every six months. the article on Wikipedia article seems to do a decent job of summarizing the differences, and what implementation will mean. the fate of the Lisbon Treaty now rests with the Czech Republic; all the other member states have signed on. this time around, the Irish people approved the Treaty by over two-thirds. the Irish Independent had an interesting article about the results, which you can read here.