DUBLIN, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Irish voters rejected the abolition of Senate in a referendum on Friday by a narrow margin, final results showed on Saturday.
With final results from all the 43 constituencies on Saturday afternoon, some 51.7 percent of the electorate has rejected the proposition to scrap the upper house with 48.3 percent voting in favor.
Of the 1,226,374 valid votes cast, 591,937 were in favor and 634,437 votes were against the proposal, a margin of 42,500 votes. A total of 14,355 invalid votes were counted. Turnout is 39.2 percent.
A final result on Friday's other referendum to establish a new Court of Civil Appeal has yet to be announced.
The Irish national parliament consists of the president and an upper and a lower house.
Most major Irish parties favor abolishing the Senate. Opposition party Fianna Fail objects to it, arguing that the coalition government of Prime Minister Enda Kenny wants to centralize its power.
Kenny's government says that eliminating the Senate would save 20 million euros (about 27 million U.S. dollars) a year, which, in this time of crisis, is a necessity.
At the Dublin Castle on Saturday afternoon, Kenny admitted the defeat in the referendum. "Sometimes in politics you get a wallop," he said.
He told reporters that he was "personally disappointed", but accepted the result of the referendum.
He said it was too early to give details on any potential senate reform, adding that the process of change in politics will continue.
The Irish prime minister said he would consider if the Constitutional Convention should address the senate reforms.
Observers say the defeat in the referendum marks a major blow for Kenny and his embattled government, which is preparing for another cost-cutting austerity budget on Oct. 15, two months early this year to meet a European Commission requirement.
Ireland is now set to exit its 85-billion-euro bailout by the end of this year. That will make it the first eurozone state to end its dependence on a European Union aid program.