NOW IRELAND HAS A GOVERNMENT June 16, 2007Posted by wmmbb in European Politics.
The elections took place, and then it took days to count the vote, now it has taken weeks to negotiate a government coalition. The Greens along with the Progressive Democrats have decided to join with Bertie Ahern’s Fianna Fail. Consistent with his promise the leader of the Greens at the election has stood done.
The Independent has the story:
Over recent weeks, his Fianna Fail party hammered out a coalition agreement primarily with the Greens, who won half a dozen seats in the election which saw Mr Ahern making a strong showing but falling short of an overall majority. The Greens will be in Mr Ahern’s new cabinet, and hope to ensure that the new government is more eco-friendly. The administration will also have the support of small right-wing Progressive Democrats. Although during the campaign all these parties “took lumps out of one another”, in the words of one observer, they all entered into the familiar post-election process of finding enough common ground to work together.
Although some shadows of alleged financial irregularities have continued to dog Mr Ahern, his re-election will provide continuity of government. While the election campaign featured some extraordinary ups and downs, he has shown great skill in managing coalitions of disparate elements. His Fianna Fail party is in any case a famously pragmatic organisation whose basically centrist position has been known to change, chameleon-like, when it needs to.
We would find it strange that elections counts could take days and that the new government would not be known on election night. Still I think there is something in this process which is socially useful. Negotiation and the then the skill to hold an often disparate coalition together, as Chancellor Merkel has demonstrated, becomes a necessary ingredient of successful political leadership.