Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1968 (Ireland)

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The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1968 was a proposal to amend the Constitution of Ireland to alter the electoral system by abolishing proportional representation (PR). The proposal was rejected in the 1968 referendum on proportional representation.

Proposed changes to the text[edit]

The subject matter of the referendum was described as follows:

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 1968, proposes –
(1) To substitute for the present system of voting at Dáil elections the "straight vote" system in single-member constituencies;
(2) To establish a Commission to determine constituencies, subject to the right of the Dáil to amend the constituencies as so determined; and
(3) To provide that whenever the Dáil is dissolved the outgoing Ceann Comhairle may be returned, without a contest, as a second deputy for a constituency chosen by him which consists of, or includes a part of, the constituency he represented before the dissolution.

Overview[edit]

The Fourth Amendment Bill was part of a second attempt to alter the electoral system for Dáil Éireann (the lower house of parliament). The first attempt had been rejected by voters in the 1959 referendum. On 16 October 1968 two new, separate proposals were put to referendum. The Third Amendment Bill, 1968 proposed to alter the system for the drawing of constituency boundaries and the Fourth Amendment Bill proposed to abolish PR. However both proposals were rejected by the voters.

It proposed to replace the system of proportional representation under the single transferable vote (PR-STV) with the British 'first-past-the-post' (plurality) system, based on single seat constituencies. It was introduced by the Fianna Fáil government of Jack Lynch but was opposed by Fine Gael, the main opposition party, and by the Labour Party. It was rejected by 657,898 (60.8%) against to 423,496 (39.2%) in favour.

Result[edit]

Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland Bill, 1968[1]
Choice Votes  %
Referendum failed No 657,898 60.84
Yes 423,496 39.16
Valid votes 1,081,394 95.73
Invalid or blank votes 48,212 4.27
Total votes 1,129,606 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 1,717,389 65.77

See also[edit]

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