What Happens Next in Ireland

Political drama in Britain and Ireland continues… but not because of Brexit (mercifully).

Roughly a week after the UK officially left the EU, Ireland held elections that catapulted Sinn Fein from political periphery to possible king-maker as the one-time political arm of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) surprised everyone—including themselves—by receiving the most votes.

It’s hard to overstate how dramatic an outcome this is for Irish politics. For years, Sinn Fein was a political pariah because of its links to the IRA, who spent decades employing violent means attempting to oust the British from Northern Ireland (one of the United Kingdom’s four constituencies, along with England, Scotland and Wales). When the Good Friday peace agreement was signed in 1998 to end the violence, it opened the door for Sinn Fein, who were part of a power sharing agreement in the North. This week, they had their greatest success yet.

What Happened This Week:

Sinn Fein captured the most votes in national elections with 24.5 percent of the vote… and in the process smashed the duopoly (Fianna Fail and Fine Gael) that held power in the country for the last 90 years.

Just how surprising was the result? So surprising that despite Sinn Fein winning the most votes in the election, it will not actually get the most seats in parliament because it didn’t run enough candidates across the country. Instead, the parliamentary majority will go to the center-right Fianna Fail, which captured 22.2 percent of the vote. Fianna Fail has spent nearly a decade in opposition, as Irish voters have largely held them responsible for driving the country into financial ruin around the Great Recession. In third place came the (other) center-right party Fine Gael of current Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who made an international name for himself …read more

Source:: Time – World


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