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Fragmented Party Politics of Ireland

Copyright  Lance Kerrigan 2020

Election 2020 has been regarded as a landmark shift in Irish politics, with Sinn Féin becoming the most popular party and hold second place in terms of seat numbers held in Dáil Éireann. The election has been described by Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonalds as;

Historic in proportions… Changing the shape and the mould of Irish Policitcs…

No one including Sinn Féin was expecting such a landslide victory considering recent By-elections. To add to the woes of Fianna Fail & Fine Gael a significant portion of their seats were lost to independent candidates and small parties creating a diluted party landscape.

This dilution makes it impossible for the top three parties to form a majority government, and incredibly difficult to form a strong coalition without joining with one of the other. Something Sinn Fein haven’t ruled out, but the other two are very reluctant to outright rejecting the idea. So the most obvious solution is for a Fianna Fail, Fine Gael coalition, something their grassroots members are hesitant to do too.

So while the country grapples with this stalemate, I’m fixated on the growing trend we’ve seen in recent years on this very matter.

The above chart shows a distinct pattern in that there is a trend in growth for niche parties and independents over the years since the 1977 election. Sinn Fein’s performance, particularly since 2007, has been remarkable.

Labour, Fianna Fail & Fine Gael have been fluctuating over time but trending downwards.

The other category (Independents and Niche Parties) have been increasing since the first great depression of the republic (The 1980s) while since the 2007 bust policial volatility is bring everyone to a statistical centre point. The chart also highlights how the so-called duopoly very much fading.

2020 elections breakdown

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