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Elections and party change in Ireland

The elections called amid the fallout from Ireland’s debt crisis have resulted in total realignment of the Irish party system. Gone are the Greens, the former junior coalition partner. Fianna Fail, in power since 1932 for all but 17 years, has fallen from first to third place. Today Enda Kenny of the Christian Democratic Fine Gael was elected Taoiseach (Premier) by a huge majority in the Dail and unopposed by Fianna Fail. Fine Gael will take 10 ministerial posts while Labour takes 5. Unlike the party systems in the rest of Western Europe, Ireland has not developed a clear left-right division characterised by a strong socialist or labour party... until now. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are the divided heirs to the Irish independence movement of 1916-22, with the former rejecting the original deal of 1921 concluded with the British. After 1932, Fine Gael’s brief periods in power have depended on the support of the small Labour Party. However, Fine Gael is part of the European centre-right and supports continued austerity. There were calls from within the Irish Labour Party for Labour to assume, for the first time, leadership of the opposition in the hope that Labour could be a credible contender for government leadership in the future. These calls were rejected and it remains to be seen whether Labour shrinks or grows in the uncertain future ahead.

 

Party

Type

 

2007 election

2011 election

 

 

 

 

%

seats

%

seats

% change

Fine Gael

Christian Democrats

27

51

36

76

+9

Fianna Fail

National Liberal

42

77

17

19

-25

Labour

 

 

10

20

19

37

+9

Sinn Fein

Left-Nationalist

7

4

10

14

+3

Greens

 

 

5

6

2

0

-3

United Left

Extreme Left

1

0

2

4

+1

Progressive Democrats

Liberals

 

3

2

0

0

-3

Independents

 

 

5

5

13

15

+8

 

Posted on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 05:34PM by Registered CommenterDr Giacomo Benedetto | CommentsPost a Comment

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