DUBLIN (AP) — Irish government plans to abolish the country's Senate in a cost-cutting move are facing a tough test in ballots being counted Saturday.
Early partial results from Friday's nationwide referendum suggest only around half of voters supported the government's proposed constitutional amendment to close the 60-senator chamber. The measure requires majority approval to become law. Official results are expected later Saturday.
Proponents say the upper house wields no essential powers and its closure could save taxpayers 20 million euros ($27 million) annually.
Opponents accuse the government of seeking to strengthen its own powers by removing an upper house that scrutinizes and occasionally delays the passage of bills. They argue that the government should reform and improve the Senate, not kill it.