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Ireland Set for First Change of Government in 14 Years

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TEHRAN, Feb 24 (ICANA) – The people in Ireland go to the poll on Friday in an early election that is almost certain to see the opposition Fine Gael party being returned to power for the first time since 1997, according to opinion polls.
Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:30:30 PM
Ireland Set for First Change of Government in 14 Years
The elections were called by the Fianna Fail-led coalition amid growing political turmoil following the collapse of the country’s economy and banking system at the end of last year. The latest opinion poll published in the Irish Independent on Wednesday showed that support for the centre-right Fianna Fail has slipped to a historically low of just 14% compared with 41.5% at the last general election in 2007. Fine Gael, which is also a centre-right party, was up to 38%, 11 percentage points more than four years ago, while support for Labour has doubled to 20% and Sinn Finn also up from 7% to 11%. The only question appeared to be whether Fine Gael, led by Edna Kenny (pictured) would be in a position to govern with the support of a number of independents in the 166-seat Irish parliament or enter into another coalition with Labour as it did between 1994 and 1997. The Irish election use a quota-based single transferable vote system in multi-seat constituencies to elect MPs for five year terms and has led to coalition governments for the past 30 years, mostly headed by Fianna Fail. Previous Fine Gael Prime Minister Garret Fitzgerald has advised Kenny that the best option for the country was a stable coalition with the Labour party that he suggested could last the full five year term.
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