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New Government in Ireland

Counting just finished today in the Irish election – it had begun first thing Saturday morning, after the vote on Friday.

Irish voters have emphatically rejected the dominant centre-right party of the last 15 years (Fianna Fail), to instead elect in a government likely to be made up of another centre-right party (Fine Gael) and also a centre-left party (Labour). In the aftermath of near economic melt-down, there has also been a strong showing in this election by many independents and smaller parties, including two members for the Socialist Party and two for People Before Profit Party. The Green Party (environmentalists), who were in government as a junior party for the last three years, have been wiped out entirely in national politics and have no members of parliament. Also noticeable is the performance of the former pariah party of Ireland, Sinn Fein, who have almost trebled their seats and are now the second biggest party in opposition.

Ireland uses a PR-STV (Proportional Representation – Single Transferrable Vote) system, which is a little more cumbersome and takes longer to count, but is generally considered by most political scientists to be a purer form of democracy rather than those used by the archaic democracies of the North Atlantic.