Poll Outcome Could Leave Ireland Ungovernable

Poll Outcome Could Leave Ireland UngovernablePoll Outcome Could Leave Ireland Ungovernable

Ireland goes to the polls this Friday in an election that could see it follow the mold of Spain and leave itself ungovernable in a rally against the status quo.

For a long time it seemed Ireland might be on the cusp of breaking the European mold and returning a government that had presided over years of painful austerity. But just ahead of polling in a crucial general election, it seems Ireland will follow the lead of its bailed-out Iberian cousins by returning no clear government at all, Deustche Welle reported.

Five years ago, the center-right Fine Gael and center-left Labor were elected with a combined 55% share of the vote. But in three polls last weekend that support had shrank to 35%-well short of what would be needed for a parliamentary majority.

Fine Gael, on 29%, has suffered fairly minor losses. At 6%, Labor is headed toward wipeout.

The last election took place in early 2011, in the immediate aftermath of Ireland entering its humiliating Troika bailout. In exchange for €67.5 billion ($74.5 billion) in loans at a punishing interest rate, Ireland signed up for major public service cutbacks, increases to sales tax and unpopular measures like water charges and local property taxes.

The plan may have been largely designed by their predecessors in Fianna Fail, which then lost three-quarters of its seats in an unparalleled election rout, but Fine Gael and Labor took to implementing the plan with a gusto that disappointed many of their voters.  Even more divisively, they also paid out in full to all senior bondholders at Ireland’s banks, which the taxpayer had already spent €64 billion saving from oblivion.