August 5, 2020

The Greens decide whether to enter a historic coalition government in Ireland



The Irish Green Party confirms today whether it agrees to enter a coalition government with the two great national formations, the Christian Democrat Fine Gael (FG) and the centrist Fianna Fáil (FF), more than four months after the general elections.

The environmental group will announce this Friday the result of a vote among some 2,000 members on the Government Program agreed two weeks ago by the leaders of the three parties.

The green leadership needs at least 66% “yess,” while the simple majorities set in the FG and FF votes suggest that Christian Democrats and centrists will comfortably overcome this obstacle.

However, given the intense debate that the ecological bases have had during this process, the final result is not yet clear.

If all parties accept the government pact, the centrist leader and winner of the last elections, Micheál Martin, will present his candidacy for prime minister tomorrow Saturday in an emergency session of the Dublin Lower House (Dáil).

Otherwise, a period of uncertainty would open that could lead to the holding of new elections, as warned the head of the acting government, the Christian Democrat Leo Varadkar, who has insisted that “there is no plan B”.

Martin and Varadkar have agreed to alternate the position of the “Taoiseach” (Prime Minister), while the green leader, Eamon Ryan, could stand as “number two” of this historic Executive, which would bring together the two parties that have met for the first time. Power has been distributed since the creation of this country and whose rivalry dates back to the Irish Civil War (1922-1923).

The FF obtained 38 of the 160 seats at stake in the past elections, by 35 of the FG and 37 of the leftist Sinn Féin, the former political arm of the already inactive Irish Republican Army (IRA), results that left everyone very far from the absolute majority.

Although it managed one less seat than the centrists, Mary Lou McDonald’s Sinn Féin was the most voted party and, consequently, took the initiative to form a progressive Government with other related minority forces and independent deputies, although it did not gather enough support.

In this context and in response to the urgency that the coronavirus crisis has injected, Varadkar and Martin decided to join forces to form an unprecedented coalition, after ruling out Sinn Féin for the relationship it had with the IRA during the past Northern Irish conflict and by its economic policies, which they brand as radical and dangerous for stability.

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