Early elections in Ireland

Irish Taoiseach (PM) Brian Cowen has announced that parliament will be dissolved following the passage of the upcoming austerity budget necessitated by the current financial crisis. The move became inevitable once the Green Party, coalition partners to Cowen’s Fianna Fail, demanded early elections. Cowen is also facing calls for his resignation from backbenchers of his own party.

Passing that budget will not be easy. In addition to the Green Party, the government also relies on several independent members, some of whom have said they may not vote for it. Just to complicate things yet further, the government is facing a by-election in a seat in Donegal South West.

ADDENDUM: The By-election is likely to be won by Sinn Fein, and it could be their best electoral showing ever.

And a recent poll of national voting intentions has Fianna Fail about as low as it has ever been, while Fine Gael and Labour are running higher than they have scored at just about any election. The Greens might fail to win a seat, and Sinn Fein is doing better than usual. The financial crisis might lead to quite a political shake-up.

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