Created: Sunday, 06 March 2011 22:48
Written by Paul Mallon
Following the 25 February General Election, negotiations are continuing between Fine Gael and the Labour Party, who are set to form a new coalition government. Whatever the finer details of the coalition agreement, the new government will not extract Ireland from its financial and social crisis.
The Irish parliament has 166 seats. Fine Gael now has 76 TDs (members of parliament), who will be able to govern in coalition alongside Labour’s 37 elected representatives, at the expense of the outgoing Fianna Fail/Green coalition, which the electorate overtly punished for its part in the crisis. Previous ruling party Fianna Fail’s parliamentary representation was drastically reduced from 73 to just 20, while the Green Party, which previously held six seats, is now in the political wilderness, having lost them all.
Sinn Fein (which joined the unanimous call of all parties for low business taxes) did well in the election, with its representation increased from five to 14 TDs. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams topped the poll in the border county of Louth and will take up his seat in parliament. Sinn Fein says that it is the only party which can fight the cuts in the Twenty Six counties; however in the Six Counties (north of Ireland), its elected representatives - governing together with the right wing Democratic Unionist Party - are implementing savage cuts. The United Left Alliance, a coalition of various left-wing parties, won five seats.
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