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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Third Amendment to the Irish Constitution Bill - 1958

The Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1958 was a proposal to amend the Constitution of Ireland to alter the electoral system. The proposal was rejected in the 1959 referendum.

The Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1958
At present, members of Dáil Éireann are elected on a system of proportional representation for constituencies returning at least three members, each voter having a single transferable vote. It is proposed in the Bill to abolish the system of proportional representation and to adopt, instead, a system of single-member constituencies, each voter having a single non-transferable vote. It is also proposed in the Bill to set up a Commission for the determination and revision of the constituencies, instead of having this done by the Oireachtas, as at present.

It proposed to alter the electoral system for elections to Dáil Éireann from proportional representation (PR) under the single transferable vote to the British 'first-past-the-post' (plurality) system, based on single seat constituencies. It also proposed to establish an independent commission for the drawing of constituency boundaries on a constitutional basis. It was put to a referendum on 17 June (the same day as the 1959 presidential election) but was defeated. It was introduced by the Fianna Fáil government of Éamon de Valera but was opposed by Fine Gael, the main opposition party, and by the Labour Party. The Third Amendment Bill, 1958 was rejected by 486,989 (51.8%) against to 453,322 (48.2%) in favour.

A second attempt by Fianna Fáil to abolish PR was rejected by voters in the 1968 referendum on proportional representation.

Third Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland Bill, 1958
Referendum failed No486,98951.79%
Valid votes940,31196.00%
Invalid or blank votes39,2204.00%
Total votes979,531100.00%
Voter turnout58.36%

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