June 12 pencilled in as date for Lisbon Treaty vote

The country is to go to the polls to vote on the Lisbon Treaty on Thursday June 12, it emerged today.

Poland today became the seventh EU member state to ratify the charter after Hungary, Slovenia, Malta, Romania, France and Bulgaria.

Ireland is one of 20 remaining countries in the bloc that must approve the Treaty.

Announcing the polling date, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Dáil: "While we haven't formalised a decision, it would seem to me that Thursday, June 12 is probably the most appropriate date.

Mr Ahern said that he considered holding the vote on a Friday or Saturday but realised that many people may be away during weekend breaks in June.

"It seems that the most appropriate date is June 12 but I'll finalise that. We haven't made a formal decision but we have everything in place now."

Opposition leader Enda Kenny added: "I'm happy to accept that Thursday June 12 will be the date."

A White Paper document on the Treaty was earlier published by the Government.

An independent Referendum Commission has been established and national campaigns have begun for the 'yes' and 'no' sides.

The Lisbon Treaty was signed by EU leaders in the Portuguese capital last December to replace the defunct EU constitution.

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