Thursday, May 24, 2007

Betting on Bertie

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Irish went to the polls today to election members of the lower house (Dáil) of the national parliament (Oireachtas), but, given that country's complex electoral system (Single Transferable Vote, or STV), the results may not be known for some time. Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Bertie Ahern's center-right Fianna Fáil (Republican Party), which has governed in coalition with the neo-liberal Progressive Democrats since 1997, was ahead in pre-election polls and is set to win the most seats, if not a majority on its own, but the centrist Fine Gael, a party that traces its origins back to Michael Collins and the fight for independence, and the Labour Party, Ireland's second and third largest parties, respectively, could end up doing well enough to form a governing coalition, perhaps with the Green Party. Other parties that could win seats are the Trotskyite Socialist Party, which opposes both coalitions, and the left-wing nationalist Sinn Féin, the political arm of the IRA, which, with enough seats, could end up being the key swing party, determining which coalition forms the government (and then assuming a prominent place in that government).

Good times.

For more, see the Wikipedia entry here. I'll have more when the results are known.

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