Two months after the inconclusive general election in Ireland, the Republic’s two main political parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, reached a deal 29 April that will lead to a new coalition.
“Fianna Fáil has agreed to facilitate a Fine Gael minority government in a ‘political ceasefire’ between the two dominant (and historically antagonistic) political forces in the state,” The Guardian reported. “But Fianna Fáil will remain on the opposition benches in the Dáil, the Irish parliament.”
Fianna Fáil will allow Fine Gael to govern until a review of the coalition’s performance in September 2018. …
In the February election, Fine Gael, led by taoiseach Enda Kenny, lost 26 seats but it remains the largest party in the Dáil with 50 seats. Fianna Fáil made a stunning recovery from a historic low of 21 seats in the 2011 general election to 44 seats this year.
Formal ratification of the deal could come at the weekend or early next week. The agreement is likely to return Kenny to his post, making him the first Fine Gael leader returned to power.
The Irish Times offers an analysis of “the realities facing Ireland’s next government.”
The two center-right parties emerged from the divide over the Anglo-Irish treaty in 1921, which partitioned Ireland into two states and caused a bitter civil war. Fianna Fáil has historically been the dominant of the two parties, but was severely punished by voters in 2011 for the country’s economic collapse. The rise of smaller parties and independent candidates also has skimmed votes from Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.