THE BUSINESS OF FORMING A NEW GOVERNMENT

We are now in the middle of a painstaking process which we hope will lead to the formation of a new Government. This time around, given the composition of the Dáil, it may take several weeks before we know who will govern – and how.
Ideally, a national Government could be a good solution, but there appears to be opposition to this from elements of the left, but it’s been shown to work elsewhere in Europe.
For example, in Germany, the two largest parties the Christian Democrats and the Left Social Democrats share power, while the Linke or Left party (previously part of East Germany’s Communist Party) are the opposition.
Denmark has had many types of coalitions as fans of the Borgen TV will know, while Sweden has also had functional national governments.
Could the Republic of Ireland not offer an all-party government like in Northern Ireland offering seats in Cabinet to establish a power sharing administration?
The word we got back from Fine Gael over the weekend is that some smaller parties are not interested in being part of such a ‘Grand Coalition’ – that was the view of Defence Minister Simon Coveney, speaking in Waterford after the 1848 Tricolour Celebration drew to a close.
He said that while people want a quick solution when it comes to forming an administration, this is not easy and might not be the best thing for the country in the long term. Minister Coveney believes it will take time for political parties to find a way forward, with Fine Gael willing to compromise and negotiate with other groups. But he feels a national government is unlikely.
Instead, he believes that the larger parties would come together to enter into some form of arrangement given that the smaller ones appear not to be interested, as he re-iterated it will take time to move forward.
The Constitution suggests that we’ll have an acting Taoiseach by the end of the week, if Enda Kenny does not get the necessary votes to be re-elected when the 32nd Dáil formally convenes this Thursday.
This happened back in 1989 with Charles Haughey at the helm before a deal was eventually done with the rivals, the Progressive Democrats.
Former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern seems to be making something of a comeback and offering some solutions. He certainly has some experience in the matter and he claims to have negotiated in forming six different Governments.
He might be a go between, but as one senior Fine Gael man said, exploratory talks are only at a most early stage, with the real business between senior leaders to be conducted in due course.
Taking time and forming a four-year government could mean a FG Taoiseach for the first two years and a FF leader in years three and four, which sounds entirely reasonable.
The party faithfuls may not be in favour of this, and one should anticipate some party resignations over it, according to one experienced politician.
Sinn Féin appear to have no interest in any arrangement, on the basis that they are intent on honouring their pre-election commitments.
Either way, interesting times ahead beyond the Leinster House plinth.

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