Irish elections set for 26 February

UPDATE: Irish Central‘s Sheila Langan notes “the stark differences between how elections play out in Ireland and the US cannot be neatly chalked off to population size and type of democracy.”

ORIGINAL POST: A national election in Ireland has been set for 26 February, “one of the shortest election campaigns in the history of the State,” RTÉ reported. Certainly quicker than the U.S.

“Bookmakers, political scientists and election number crunchers,” predict that Taoiseach Enda Kenny will become the first Fine Gael leader to win back-to-back general elections,” The Guardian said. The turnaround of the Irish economy since the last general election in 2011 is certainly in his favor.

But Fine Gael support is at 28 percent, down two points from November, in the latest Irish Times poll. Fianna Fáil, ousted from leadership in the last general election of 2011, is up 2 points at 21 percent. Full poll here, and more discussion on this Times‘ “Inside Politics” podcast:


The election date falls on a Friday, the same as in 2011, which drew 62 percent turnout. Having voters go to the polls at week’s end is thought to help with the youth turnout.

The new Irish government will resume operations on 10 March.

The compact election calendar in Ireland is a stark contrast to the long grind of the U.S. presidential campaign. Only four of 50 states will have held primary or caucus elections for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees before 26 February. Remaining primaries and caucuses are scheduled through June.

The winning nominees will not be officially named until party conventions in July. The fall general election campaign concludes with the vote on 8 November. The new president and Congress do not take office until January 2017.