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Ireland

Yearbook 2002

Ireland. During the year the Irish went to election on three occasions. In addition to parliamentary elections, referendums were held on possible tightening of the already tough abortion legislation and on the EU's new basic treaty of 2002, the Treaty of Nice.

2002 Ireland

In the abortion vote on March 7, almost half of the voters voted against the proposal that the risk of suicide could not constitute a sufficient basis for allowing abortion.

According to Countryaah website, the May 17 parliamentary elections were a success for Prime Minister Ahern's party Fianna Fáil, who received 41% of the vote and 81 seats, but they still failed to get their own majority in parliament. The second government party Progressive Democrats (PD) also increased its representation. Small parties such as the Green Party Comhaontas Glas and Sinn Fein, the political branch of the IRA, also had electoral successes and received six and five seats, respectively, while the largest opposition party Fine Gael lost 23 of its 54 seats. The turnout was approximately 63%. Among the new MPs were Martin Ferris, from Sinn Féin, who was previously convicted of smuggling weapons to the IRA.

Later, Fianna Fáil and PD formed a new government coalition. Soon enough, the government was hit by a fraud debate, when it became clear that it could not keep its election promises that no cuts would be made. Attention on several cases of corruption among leading politicians was probably also behind the falling opinion figures.

Great interest was directed in the autumn against I. who would vote for the second time on the Treaty of Nice on October 19. If there was a new no, as in the 2001 vote, it would hamper EU enlargement from 15 to 25 member states were argued from many directions.

Several of the groups that advocated a rejection of the Treaty of Nice said that they were not opposed to enlargement per se, but that they had objections, among other things. towards more power being concentrated in Brussels and the influence of the larger countries at the expense of the lesser ones. They were also critical that the results of the previous vote were not respected.

This time, the government did not take any risks but invested heavily in the election campaign. Behind the yes side stood all the major political parties, the business community, union leaders and the Catholic Church. Both sides argued that they should vote for them to save jobs and secure financial security. Nearly 63% of voters now voted yes to the Treaty of Nice. The turnout was 48%, which was higher than in the previous year's vote.

Lisbon Treaty

On June 12, 2008, Ireland - the only Member State - held a referendum on the EU's Lisbon Treaty. The result was 53.4 per cent no-votes. Thus, in 2001, as in 2001, the Irish had blocked an EU treaty, this time the simplified version of the "Constitution" which was halted by French and Dutch voters in 2005.

Among the requirements for a new treaty was that Ireland should retain its military neutrality, its tax laws and Europe's strictest abortion law. In principle, the requirements were met, in the form of guarantees from the EU. But the financial crisis and economic dependence on EU cooperation were seen as a more important explanation when a new referendum, on October 3, 2009, gave 67.1 per cent yes and 32.9 per cent votes, a boost for the yes side from 2008. One strong mobilization brought the attendance percentage up to 58.

The 2011 and 2016 elections

Unrest in the Fianna Fáil government party and dissatisfaction with the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brain Cowen's handling of the financial crisis led to new elections two months before it was scheduled for 2011. Cowen and Fianna Fáil were literally free on the polls and the result was just as fatal for the government party.

Never before in Irish history had a government party lost as much ground as Fianna Fáil did in the 2011 election. Never before in the party's history, Fine Gael had won so many seats in the Dáil (Irish Parliament). The roles were turned on its head, and Fine Gael formed a coalition government with the Labor Party, with Fine Gaels Enda Kenny as Taoiseach. But the problems were not with Ireland. The loans that the country was forced to take up after the financial crisis quelled the economy and Kenny agreed to renegotiate the terms of the loans. The EU was on its terms and Ireland had to wait a few more years before the economy turned.

After the 2016 election, it soon became clear that the coalition between Fine Gael and Labor could not continue. The election results showed a decline for Fine Gael and Labor, while there was great progress for Fianna Fáil and Sinn Fein. The post-election parliamentary situation complicated the formation of the government, and it took 63 days before a coalition came into place. The result of the lengthy negotiations led Enda Kenny and Fine Gael to form a minority government with the support of independent MPs in Dáil.

The violent decline of Fine Gael was difficult for the party and their leader and Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The political pressure increased, and the pressure coincided with a series of corruption cases in the Irish police which Kenny handled poorly. May 17, 2017, Kenny saw no other way but to retire. After a party battle won by Leo Varadkar, Kenny asked Dáil to choose Varadkar as their new Taoiseach. Varadkar became Ireland's new leader on June 14, 2017.

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