Sunday, May 27, 2007

Irish elections

I make no claims to know anything about this subject, but the results of the Irish elections are now in and look interesting;

Difference (See note)-3+20+0-6+0-1-8-1

So although the control of Fianna Fail as a minority government looks set to continue there have been some interesting shifts elsewhere. It seems that Fine Gael (who are members of the European People's Party along with Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, and Forza Italia among others) have mopped up most of the independent seats radically reducing the smaller voices in the Dail (Parliament) of both the left and right including independents, the Socialist Party, Sein Fein and the Progresive Democrats.

The Greens are the only one of the small parties to have withstood this squeeze and have managed to retain six seats, although third placed Labour, who have had close ties with Fine Gael in recent years, have also kept to 20.

The more mathematically astute will already have noticed that Fianna Fail are just six short of 84 seats (half of 166) and so one possible coalition partner, on paper, would be the Greens. However I have been told that "the party leader, Trevor Sargent, is on record as stating that the Greens would never enter a coalition with Fianna Fail, and this would require a special party congress to agree. I think it more likely that they will cobble together a deal with the Progressive Democrats and Independents."

Note: It may appear that there is one extra seat in the Dail - that's because of the Speakers seat... no need to panic.


Noel Lynch said...

Well done for spotting that FF are 6 and not 5 short of a majority, unlike some newspapers. I agree with you that Bertie will probably cobble together a Government with the PDs and some independents. The latter will cost him - big time:-)
Re Trevor Sargent, I think he said that HE would not lead the GP into a coalition with FF. Politics is the art of the possible and some GP TDs are believed to be in favour.
It's a pity that we lost Dan Boyle, previously our only TD outside Dublin. However we won a seat in Carlow with our first female TD.

daphneL said...

Lessons from this election:

1) The importance of left unity. The Socialist Party (CWI) are famous for their contemptuous and dismissive attitude towards the rest of the left. A united left campaign in Ireland would have easily brought home 3 TDs - Higgens and his party colleague Clare Daly, as well as Richard Boyd-Barrett of the SWP and the People Before Profit Alliance.

2) The cul-de-sac that Sinn Fein have walked themselves into. By proving that they are docile enough to administer British rule in the Six Counties alongside Ian Paisley, they have conversely lost all feasible hope of posing as a "revolutionary party" in the 26 Counties. The only other way forward is to attempt to become a kind of "Provisional Fianna Fail", and why would you vote for that when the real thing are already in Government?

Jim Jay said...

FYI: For member changes try Wikipedia

On Sein Fein we should note that in 2002 they got 121 thousand first pref votes and this time they got 142.5 thousand increasing their vote share marginally (6.5% to 6.9%) but the election statistics were against them.

Jim Jay said...

Also - on left unity I've been looking through the results and here are some initial thoughts - as far as I can see no party of the far left stood against each other (not including the workers party), although there were clashes with the greens so part of me thinks unless a prgressive alternative block could be formed it wouldn't make much of a difference to the vote as it stood - although i suppose Joe Higgins (for example) may have had some extra activists who otherwise refused to campaign for him... perhaps.

I don't know enough about the independents to be able say which of them were "of the left" so if some of those could be pulled in that might make some difference too.

Richard Boyd Barrett came very close and I'm sure he would have been an excellent TD.

Anonymous said...

"Sinn Fein are docile enough to administer British rule in the Six Counties alongside Ian Paisley, they have conversely lost all feasible hope of posing as a "revolutionary party" in the 26 Counties." How dare you say this Daphnel, you and the "26 counties" have abandoned the 6 to fend for ourselves! What would you prefer... keepin paisley sweet for now knowing he's about to die any second, or a route back to violence? - "they huff and they puff until they get their own way, but six counties are under and they've gone away"

Anonymous said...

The Tricolour is more alined and relevant to the North of Ireland, all you "free staters" should go back to the little green flag with the gold harp as you've forgotten what the tricolour stands for.