February 26, 2011- Voters in Ireland have definitively rejected the ruling political party that is identified with the rise and collapse of the Irish economy, but on the whole have accepted an austerity program designed to restore the government’s financial affairs.
The center-right Fine Gael party will not have a majority of seats in Ireland’s new parliament, and in all likelihood will be forced to form a coalition administration with the left-of-center Labour Party, if the early counts of Friday’s election votes are correct.
“It is absolutely certain that Fine Gael will be the largest party,” stated Leo Varadkar, a leading Fine Gael politician who is more than likely to be granted a senior role in the new government. “Based on the numbers we have, we will be in the low-to-mid 70s and we will have to have a coalition. Labour is the obvious party.”
The leader of the Labour Party, Eamon Gilmore, is hinting that there will be an alliance between his party and Fine Gael to structure the new government.
“That is the most likely outcome, there’s no doubt about that,” said Gilmore.
The Fianna Fail party has been in power for the last 13 years, during which time Ireland first became one of the wealthiest countries on the planet per capita, and then fell to the world financial crisis and its own poor financial policies and decisions.
Early counting of the votes indicates the former ruling party may win only 20 seats, considerably short of the 78 seats it had won previously in 2007.