So they made it!! After 70 days finally a new government has been elected when on Friday Enda Kenny (Fine Gael) was re-elected as the Taoiseach.
It is called a “minority government” that is tolerated by Fianna Fail and supported by some of the Independent TDs. When the Taoiseach got elected, the Fianna Fail TDs abstained and therefore a handful of Independents was enough for Enda Kenny to get the majority.
Odd that Micheal Martin didn’t want to be in power since it was offered to him to be part of the government through a coalition. But the reason why Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail didn’t want to get involved and form a Grand Coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is because they were worried that the electors would punish them for it in the next elections. In recent elections the smaller coalition partner (i.e. Greens and Labour) was always blamed more for a screw up of the government than the dominating party and Micheal Martin didn’t want to risk that.
So the solution was a to tolerate a minority Fine Gael government. But does that REALLY change the situation?
Is Fianna Fail now NOT part of the government and will they by innocent if Enda Kenny does a bad job?? Actually NOT AT ALL!! This is really a coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, just with the odd configuration that Fianna Fail will not contribute in a positive way in the day to day running of the country.
Why do I call it a coalition? Well, if you sit down with the other party for days and negotiate a “deal” that will last for three years, during which Fianna Fail will support whatever Fine Gael does then you can’t claim anymore that you are innocent! It is like standing next to someone who commits a criminal act and not doing anything. You will NOT get away with your “I had nothing to do with it!” claim.
So this new government is a Grand Coalition, just not by name! And if Enda Kenny screws up and Fianna Fail won’t stop him because they promised to support him for 3 years, then Fianna Fail will also have to be appropriately punished for it! Don’t fall for Micheal Martin’s trick!