Saturday, February 27, 2016

Irish General Election 2016: On the Nightbeat.

At this point in proceedings we're still missing 2 first counts out of the 40 constituencies, but a clearer picture is starting to emerge.  As I write this, these are the numbers of TD's elected per party.

Fianna Fail - 18
Fine Gael - 12
Sinn Fein - 6
Social Democrats - 3
Independents - 3
Anti-Austerity Alliance - 2
Independent Alliance - 2
Labour - 1
Green Party - 1
Renua Ireland - 0
Others - 0

That's with 48 of the 158 seats filled in Dail Eireann.

By contrast, Dublin Central is on its 10th round of counting, in order to try to fill the remaining 2 available seats.

The strange thing is, that at the start of this election, there were a lot of concerns about the new party Renua.  How were they going to shake things up?  Turns out, they really haven't, with a mere 2.2% of first preference votes. 

The big developments came from Sinn Fein, and on a more modest scale, the Social Democrats, the Anti-Austerity Alliance, and the Independent Alliance.  All have made significant progress.  The Green Party have returned to the Dail, though whether they will pick up any more seats at this election is at this point dubious, but not impossible.

If there is to be a coalition, it's likely to be a grand coalition of at least 3 different parties and maybe more.  Both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have said they won't work with Sinn Fein, so it will depend on just how close Fianna Fail and Fine Gael get to 80 seats, the number required for a majority, but the strongest likelihood seems to be a Fianna Fail/Fine Gael coalition, if neither party is anywhere near close enough to the 80 seat mark.

Once we know the exact shape or close enough to it, to actually have a good sense of the numbers, I'll write more about this. 

Meanwhile, one small point on this.  The polls closed at 10pm last night.  They didn't start counting, until 9am this morning.  That's 11 hours that was lost.  This whole process could be almost over by this point, if they had started counting last night straight after the polls close, as we do. Instead right now, we're heading into a late night, and the possibility of results not being known until Sunday evening.  And even then, when the markets open Monday morning in Dublin, the ISEQ will probably go downwards as there will be little idea what kind of political future will await the Irish Republic.  I do think we're in for a few days, maybe weeks of political uncertainty, at a time when Ireland's relationship with both the UK and the EU, will be under a lot of scrutiny on both sides of the Irish Sea.

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