[JURIST] Voters in Ireland on Saturday rejected a constitutional amendment that would have abolished the country's Senate [official website], dealing a defeat to Prime Minister Enda Kenny [official website]. Kenny had personally campaigned for the amendment [AP report], saying that the Senate was toothless, undemocratic and unnecessary in light of recent budget woes. Irish voters defeated the referendum [Irish Times report] by a margin of 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent. After the referendum was defeated, several Irish politicians, including Senator Sean Barrett [official website] called on Kenny to reconsider his political strategy [Irish Independent report]. The referendum's rejection is seen as a major political loss for Kenny and his Fine Gael party [party website].
Ireland has garnered international attention recently for several landmark pieces of legislation. In July Irish President Michael Higgins [official website] signed the country's first abortion bill into law [JURIST report], legalizing the practice in exceptional cases where doctors deem a woman's life at risk. In November voters in Ireland approved a constitutional amendment [JURIST report] on children's rights that changes existing wording in the constitution to make certain rights more explicit. In June 2012 Irish voters approved [JURIST report] the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance [text, PDF] aimed at improving fiscal discipline and promoting greater financial information disclosure between EU member states.