Recent polls have suggested that Ireland could be set for major government changes, with the current Fine Gael-Labour coalition set to be removed from power once the election is completed.
While Fine Gael still looks likely to be the largest party based on voting so far, the Labour party has struggled. Alex White, who is the Communications Minister of the Labour Party, has not returned to parliament, while the ex-Justice Minister of Fine Gael, Alan Shutter, has also missed out. It all contributes to Fine Gael holding a slender lead over their main opponents, Fianna Fáil.
As such, the chances of a majority government appear all but over. Additionally, the fact that the country is taking advantage of the Single Transferable Vote (STV) could impact the results – with votes being transferred between candidates depending on how candidates are performing.
What next for the Labour party?
Despite their decline in popularity, and loss of seats in parliament, the Labour party have remained defiant. Leading figures for the party have said that they will continue their fight for their own policies, even though their numbers are seemingly on a constant downward curve.
How is the next government going to be formed?
This is a major question for senior politicians. While Fine Gael and Labour may have been able to work together in a coalition, the chances of this occurring with Fine Gael and their main competitor, Fianna Fáil, seem all but impossible.
Both parties have suggested that going into coalition is out of the question, although considering their positions some arrangement may have to be made eventually to avoid the hung parliament.
What about the other parties?
The recent polls have suggested that a number of smaller parties have performed well. Additionally, Sinn Féin falls into this category and deputy leader Mary-Lou McDonald has suggested that Gerry Adams will be put forward to be the next taoiseach.
The party has also revealed its delight at the poor performance of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in the vote, stating that they should now understand that they don’t have any divine right to govern.
What have been the main topics of the election?
It would be fair to say that this election has mainly focussed on Ireland’s economic climate. While the Republic of Ireland may have experienced the fastest growing economy in the whole of the Eurozone for the past couple of years, many have suggested that not everyone in the country is benefiting from this. Some parties have said that those people based outside f middle-class Dublin are just not reaping this positivity.
As the results so far show, such statements from opposition parties seem to have worked in dissuading the people to turn away from the current government. Even though the international economy is somewhat frail, Ireland’s surge in performance still hasn’t cut the current government much slack as a change in power becomes closer.
What else has occurred during the election?
Amongst the votes, bullish statements and everything else that accompanies an election, there have been a number of lighter moments.
For example, one person opted to put his number one choice to the UFC champion Conor McGregor. Elsewhere, someone’s silver eternity ring was placed in one of the ballot boxes.
However, perhaps the biggest news story in this regard was the decision by one voter to turn down Hollywood just so they could support a politician. Eamon Farrell, who happens to be the brother of actor Colin Farrell, naturally had a ticket for the Oscars. Rather than attending, he opted to stay at the count centre to support Arts Minister Heather Humphries.