Ireland to remove crime of blasphemy and to re-elect president, exit polls show
Ireland Ireland to remove crime of blasphemy and to re-elect president, exit polls show
Referendum follows vote to overturn abortion ban, as Michael Higgins set for second term
Ireland has voted to remove the crime of blasphemy from its constitution by a significant majority, according to exit polls.
An exit poll by the national broadcaster, RTÃ, sugge sted 71.1% had voted yes on the question of whether or not to repeal the constitutional ban, with 26.3% voting no. A poll by the Irish Times poll predicted that 69% had backed the proposal and 31% had voted against it.
Official counting of the votes beings on Saturday.
The blasphemy referendum was held alongside a presidential election, which exit polling suggested had been been won by a landslide by the incumbent, Michael D Higgins.Ireland to vote on removing blasphemy as an offence Read more
Should the referendum figures be confirmed once the votes are counted, the move would be the latest sign of the weakening of religious conservatism in the country.
The last prosecution for blasphemy in Ireland was in 1855, but three years ago Irish police investigated comments made by Stephen Fry on television in which the comedian described God as âcapriciousâ, âmean-mindedâ, and an âutter maniacâ. The investigation was later dropped af ter police decided insufficient numbers of people had been outraged.
In 2015, Ireland voted to allow same-sex marriage and, in May this year, nearly two thirds of Irish voters backed the repeal of the countryâs abortion ban, leading the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to proclaim the âculmination of a quiet revolution [that has been taking place] for the past 10 or 20 yearsâ.Rights groups push for yes vote in Irish blasphemy referendum Read more
An RTÃ exit poll on the presidential election suggested Higgins had secured more than 56% of the vote.
The results put the controversial businessman and former Irish Dragonsâ Den star, Peter Casey, in second with about 20% of first-preference vote. It means Higgins is likely to be easily re-elected on the first count for a second seven-year term.
The results also indicate that the Sinn Fein MEP, Liadh Ni Riada, received 7.4% of the vote, while Senator Joan Freeman got 6.3% and the businessman and former Dragonsâ Den investor, Sean Gallagher, got 5.5%.
The Irish Times poll, conducted by Ipsos/MRBI, questioned more than 4,300 voters outside 160 polling stations across the country. It produced broadly similar projections.Ireland to vote over constitution clause on women's role in the home Read more
The results of both polls, which were published at 10pm as polling stations across the country closed, indicate that Gavin Duffy secured the lowest number of votes at 2%. More than 3.2 million people were entitled to vote in 40 constituencies across the country.
Opinion polls throughout the campaign consistently placed Higgins as the favourite, despite being plagued by questions over presidential expenses.
If re-elected, the 77-year old will become the fifth Irish president to serve for two terms. Counting of votes will begin on Saturday morning with a result expected by the evening.Topics
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