Ireland changes its coalition: lessons for Ukraine

Author : Nadiya Afanasyeva

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ukraine and Ireland are very different in specifics, but the crisis in Ukraine has some similarities with the divided island
10:00, 4 March 2016

Read the original text at Evropeiska Pravda.

Evropeiska pravda

26 February 2016 Ireland held elections to the lower house of the parliament - Doyle Eren.

Elections did not show the overall winner. An equal number of seats, 59 seats received a key party of the current coalition - conservative "Fine Gae" ("United Ireland") and the main opposition party - the Liberal Party with the romantic name "Fianna Fáil" ( "Soldiers of Destiny").

It should be noted that the Irish electoral system is quite unique - despite the complexity, it can increase the effect of regional offices of political parties.

In Ireland, 157 deputies are elected in 40 constituencies, with each constituency in parliament held from 3 to 5 members. The essence of the system is that MPs come to Parliament by open lists. Thus, the voter shall affix numbers 1, 2, 3 ... in front of the candidates for whom gives his vote, thus forming a three (or five) of his preference.

Related: European Parliament welcomes Ukraine’s progress in EU integration

The authors of the Irish recovery

Despite the key contradictions, both parties can boast successes in the economy.

"United Ireland" took over the global economic crisis in 2008, from which Ireland has suffered more than anyone else in the EU, excluding Greece.

However, Ireland (unlike Greece) to the end has passed the painful path of economic recovery. There were taken unpopular measures to reduce spending on social security, tax increases and reduction of salaries and pensions.

We can say that the regime of austerity, which decided the former government, became a model of success in overcoming the economic crisis.

As it often happens, even successful reformers quickly lose electoral support.

The situation is complicated scandal first time in the history of Ireland's parliament speaker from the "soldiers" was forced to resign because of allegations of misuse of money from the state budget - moving limousine, luxury hotel during a working visit. The reputation of government was spoiled by the scandal with Anglo Irish Bank, the loss of state nationalization which amounted to more than 29.3 billion EUR.

As a result, "Soldiers of Destiny" were defeated by the coalition of the Conservatives and the Labour Party in 2011.

For five years of the current government, Ireland became the first recipients of financial assistance was able to refuse services European stabilization funds, and by 2016 Irish GDP nearly reached pre-crisis levels.

Improvements in the economy allowed "United Ireland" reducing taxes, it was the main focus of the party election. This enabled maintain high ratings.

Evropeiska pravda

However, its partners in the Labour Party could not consistently boast. Their rating fell from 20% in 2011 to 7% in 2016.

Coalition races

Even before the election, experts note that in 2011 the ruling coalition will not be able to keep their position, and "United Ireland" will have to seek other options for a coalition.

There are several options: "United Ireland" and the Labour Party to pull independent candidates; "United Ireland" will form a coalition with the Radical Party, "Sinn Fein", whose leader was a member of the military organization "Irish Republican Army (IRA), one of the likely coalition partners could become the main opposition party "Soldiers of Destiny".

The latter option seems unlikely - during the campaign leaders "soldiers" have repeatedly stated that they do not create a coalition with the conservatives.

In this case, both parties are unlikely to agree on the role of junior partner - according to a study by IPSOS MRBI, Conservative leader Enda Kenny and "soldier" Michael Martin have equal chance to become a prime minister (24%).

In the next few days to both parties expect competition: who quickly attracts the coalition of small political forces and independent candidates to collect the 80 votes of deputies, to hold the first meeting of March 10, 2016 and be able to form a new government.

However, most likely, the negotiations would drag. Analysts say that St. Patrick's Day, March 17, when traditionally held meeting the US president and the Irish prime minister, parliament does not have time to select a candidate for the Prime Minister.

The probability of re-election is not excluded, but all parties are well aware that during the country's "political economy" new elections will be negatively perceived by voters.

Ukrainian question

Ireland often compares itself with Ukraine.

"Ukraine and Ireland are very different in specifics, but the crisis in Ukraine has some similarities with the situation on the divided island. Ukraine, like Ireland, has a neighbor in the east, which linked the country culturally, linguistically and ethnically," Irish analysts expressed a view in 2015.

However, further comparison is not going. Remoteness of "green island" causes poor Irish involvement in the conflict.

In particular, our turnover is only $ 134.6 million and thus plummeted. On the other hand, there are traditionally low share of trade with Russia, as anti-Russian sanctions and counter- sanctions of Russia did not have impact on the economy of both countries.

Related: Over half of Ukrainians support EU integration - poll

Fundamentally, it is important that the issue of the ratification of the Agreement with Ukraine and conservatives, the opposition took a common position.

Ireland became the 14th member country of the EU that voted for the ratification of the Association Agreement Ukraine-EU in January 2015. While the vast majority of MPs (the ruling coalition and the Labor Party) emphasized the importance of the Agreement to strengthen political dialogue and economic cooperation with Ukraine. Also, all parties had to reaffirm their condemnation of Russia.

A small exception are radical nationalists "Sinn Fein" that focus on the fact that Ukraine mired in corruption, socio-economic and military issues and has become a bargaining chip in relations between the EU, Russia, and the United States.

However, although "Sinn Fein" emphasizes on the responsibility of the EU in the escalation of the conflict, as well as increasing gas prices by 50% in Ukraine, however, it supports the people of Ukraine in the quest for independence from Russia.

Related: Ireland's were descended from modern-day Ukraine, scientists have found

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