Measures hint at November poll

Election measures agreed at Cabinet are likely to fuel further speculation that a snap election may be called next month.

A decision by the Environment Minister Alan Kelly to freeze election expense refunds for candidates is expected to save at least €300,000. Refunds will not be increased in line with inflation after the election, the Cabinet were told yesterday.

The refund limits, set in 2007, are €30,150 in a 3-seat constituency; €37,650 in a 4-seat constituency and €45,200 in a 5-seat constituency.

Elsewhere, Mr Kelly has ordered a redesigned Dáil ballot paper for the general election, which it is claimed will ease confusion about where voters tick boxes. The new paper will see party emblems as well as spaces where there are no such symbols for independent candidates fixed on the right of papers, to stop voters ticking the wrong spaces. The new ballot paper designs are expected to be discussed later this month in the Dáil. In addition, italics and parentheses will be removed from the front of the ballot paper and the wording on the back of the ballot paper and the counterfoil will be in both Irish and English.

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