- Title: POLAND: SECOND DAY OF VOTING IN A REFERENDUM ON JOINING THE EUROPEAN UNION.
- Date: 8th June 2003
- Summary: (W4) WARSAW, POLAND (JUNE 8, 2003) (REUTERS) 1. WS: CHURCH 0.05 2. WS/MV: PEOPLE COMING OUT OF CHURCH. 0.20 3. MV/TRACK: TWO NUNS WALKING TOWARDS POLLING STATION. 0.35 4. VARIOUS: AS THE TWO NUNS REGISTER FOR VOTING (3 SHOTS) 1.09 5. TRACK: PRIEST ENTERING POLLING BOOTH. 1.22 6. VARIOUS: TWO NUNS CAST THEIR BALLOT PAPERS. 1.39 7. MV/WS: CIVILIANS REGISTERING TO VOTE. (2 SHOTS) 1.51 8. VARIOUS: MORE PEOPLE POSTING BALLOT PAPERS. 1.55 9. VARIOUS: AS MAN HOLDS YOUNG CHILD AS SHE CASTS THE BALLOT PAPER. 2.19 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 23rd June 2003 13:00
- Location: WARSAW, POLAND
- Country: Poland
- Reuters ID: LVA1V9H1ZDJD99PADLTNMU5QG8VV
- Story Text: Poland has begun the second and final day of voting in
a referendum on joining the European Union (EU) after a low
turnout threatened to make the historic plebiscite invalid.
Poles began the last day of voting on Sunday (June 8)
in a referendum on joining the EU after a low turnout on
Saturday (June 7).
Only 5.2 million Poles, or 17.6 percent of the 29.7 million
eligible voters, cast their ballots on Saturday, well short of
the 50 percent needed to make the result binding.
The first day confirmed the worst fears of Poland's pro-EU
leadership that the countryside would boycott the plebiscite.
The fate of the referendum may now hinge on if
predominantly Roman Catholic Poles vote in large numbers after
mass on Sunday, the day elections are traditionally held.
Surveys suggest three in four Poles who cast their ballots
will vote "Yes" in Poland, which led the 1989 overthrow of
communism in eastern Europe and is the largest of 10 countries
invited to join the EU in May 2004.
The electoral commission said all 24,985 polling stations
reopened on the second day of the vote. The number of people
voting on Sunday must double Saturday's total to avoid forcing
parliament to ratify EU entry.
Efforts to win a two-thirds majority in parliament could
topple Prime Minister Leszek Miller's scandal-prone minority
government as well as diluting vital economic reforms and
rocking financial markets betting on Poland's smooth EU entry.
TV exit polls are due soon after voting ends at 8 p.m.
(1800 GMT), with partial results during the evening.
The pro-EU campaign has been helped by appeals from U.S.
President George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair
and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Poland's EU membership has also received the blessing of
Polish-born Pope John Paul who has called it an "an act of
But many Poles remain apathetic, having lost faith in
their leaders and fearful they could join Poland's three
million jobless -- or 18 percent of the workforce -- once the
economy is opened to the full force of EU competition.
Malta, Slovenia, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovakia have
voted to join the EU. The Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia
have yet to vote, while Cyprus does not plan a ballot.
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