DUBLIN — Ireland voted to retain its upper house of parliament on Saturday, rejecting Prime Minister Enda Kenny's call to scrap a chamber where the likes of William Butler Yeats once sat but the government saw as redundant.
In a campaign that was backed by some of the opposition and not seen as a chance to punish the government for austerity measures imposed as part of an EU/IMF bailout, 51.7 percent of the electorate voted against the proposal.
Kenny had argued that the 75-year-old institution was elitist, undemocractic and promised its abolition would save money. Advocates for the senate, including the main opposition party Fianna Fail, accused the government of a power grab.
The 60 members of the Senate, many of whom have jobs outside of politics, have only limited powers such as the ability to temporarily delay legislation.
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