…and still no Government
43 days have gone by and the 158 elected members of the Irish Parlament have still not been able to form a government. Fianna Fáil promised throughout the election campaign that they would not, under any circumstances, support Fine Gael to form the next government. Fine Gael on the other hand pledged from the very beginning that they would not join up with Fianna Fáil. The Labour Party vowed to continue the “successful” government with Fine Gael and not even look at any other possible constellation. In the meantime the Labour Party has more or less been wiped out. They only have 7 members left in the house and can be happy that they actually have speaking rights. The Labour Party has since the elections ruled out any participation in any government. It is their aim to renew themselves in opposition. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael made it very clear from the outset that they wouldn’t be jumping into bed with Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin on the other hand stated very clearly that they would only participate in a left wing government, if they were the leading force. The Social Democrats haven’t really featured at all since the elections. One would nearly be inclined to forget about them.
The AAA–PBP, Independents 4 Change, WUA would have worked with Sinn Féin, but since the numbers don’t stack up, they would need one of the bigger parties amongst them and that is not going to happen. Since none of the bigger parties is prepared to work with Sinn Féin and Sinn Féin won’t go into government unless they’re the leading force. Can you still follow this? If so, you’re ahead of the majority of Irish people. Most people have lost track by now. It is a riddle how on earth a government can be formed.
The Independent Alliance would go into government with anyone as long as they sign up to their policies. The Green Party was involved with talks with the Independent Alliance and Fine Gael, but has since withdrawn, not believing that a stable meaningful government can be formed.
Go and break your promises
Sinn Féin is shouting at Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to go and form a government. When Fianna Fáil explains to Sinn Féin that they can’t do that as they would break their election promise, Sinn Féin argues that this is an excuse and the people of Ireland have spoken and that Fianna Fáil has to fulfil the wish of the people. However, when you put it to Sinn Féin that they could join up with any of the other parties to form a government, Sinn Féin points out that they promised to their electorates that they would only be part of a government if they were the leading force of a left wing government.
Fact is, that Fianna Fáil is only recovering from a near wipe out in the 2011 elections. They’re afraid that if they are a part of a grand coalition, that they will be at the losing end and the struggle for survival will start all over again. Sinn Féin on the other hand is hoping to be the largest party in opposition, which would give them a very good poll position for the next General Election. Let’s see what happens next.
Maybe the only answer to the crisis is Elections. Maybe our politicians have to learn from the mistakes they made, by pledging to the electorate too many things they wouldn’t do, rather than concentrating on things they would do.