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Irish voters deciding divorce issue

November 25, 1995
Web posted at: 8:00 a.m. EST

Ireland flag DUBLIN, Ireland (CNN) -- Irish voters are awaiting the results of Friday's referendum on whether to legalize divorce in the only European country that bars the practice.

As the vote counting began Saturday morning, poll-watchers said the balloting was too close to call. The Irish Times newspaper reported that exit polls indicated 46 percent were in favor of lifting the divorce ban and 42 percent opposed the question. Six percent of the remaining voters refused to say how they had voted.

Some polling stations reported as high as a 60 percent turnout for the vote. Official results, barring any last minute difficulties, are expected by mid-afternoon.

Only a month ago, polls indicated that those favoring an end to the ban led with 62 percent of the vote, but with a push from the Roman Catholic church, the "no" voters pulled nearly even just before the official vote. Pope John Paul II urged Irish Catholics to retain the ban.

Irish voters defeated a similar measure by a 2-1 margin in 1986. Irish couples may divorce outside the country, but they are considered adulterers if they begin a new relationship.


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