The formation of the new government in Ireland is considered historic. The left sense of fine remains only the role of the largest opposition party.
The Irish Parliament elected a new head of government on Saturday. Micheal Martin of the bourgeois party Fianna Fail will lead a coalition with the bourgeois Fine Gael and the Irish Greens. The vote did not take place in the Parliament building in Dublin, but in a conference center because of the distance rules in the coronavirus pandemic.
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In his inaugural speech, Martin promised to put the fight against the virus and the economic consequences of the pandemic at the center of his work. “From today on, that will be at the center of everything the new government will do,” said Martin. So far, almost 2,300 people have died in Ireland after being infected with the corona virus. The housing shortage and reforms in the health system are also issues that he will take care of, said Martin.
The formation of the bourgeois-green coalition government in Ireland is considered historic. Until now, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail had alternated in government. The former Prime Minister Leo Varadkar from Fine Gael spoke of the end of a civil war in parliament between the two conservative parties.
The office of head of government is slated to return to Varadkar at the end of 2022, who will continue to serve as deputy head of government. The coalition government had previously been tolerated by a Fine Gael government by Martin’s Fianna Fail.
Sinn Fein accuses Conservative wagon castle mentality
Largest opposition party will be left-wing Sinn Fein led by Mary Lou McDonald. The party had a surprise success in the February election, changing the political landscape. McDonald accused their conservative rivals of a wagon castle mentality. The coalition of the two major conservative parties was a “marriage of convenience” that served to exclude Sinn Fein from the government.
For a long time, Sinn Fein did not play a serious role in the Republic of Ireland, but was considered a political arm of the underground organization IRA. In Northern Ireland, which is part of Great Britain, the IRA fought with arms to unite the two parts of Ireland. The bloody conflict with thousands of deaths did not end until 1998 with the peace agreement known as the Good Friday Agreement.
Sinn Fein swore off violence and, with the resignation of longtime party leader Gerry Adams in 2018, also changed generations. Nevertheless, it is still viewed with skepticism in parts of Irish and British society. The party is still calling for the two parts of Ireland to merge. The party scored in the election in February, however, rather with its socio-political demands. The party could have been the strongest force, but had not counted on its success and had not enough candidates.
Elected in Ireland after the election in February
A fragmented parliament emerged from the parliamentary election in February. Fianna Fail became the strongest force with 38 of the 160 parliamentary seats. Fine Gael won 35 seats. The Greens have twelve mandates and were therefore able to achieve a number of concessions from the major allies.
The new Prime Minister Martin is anything but a political newcomer. The 59-year-old leader of the conservative Fianna Fail party has been a professional politician for 35 years. His experience as Minister of Health in particular should benefit him in the current situation. If the big neighbor Great Britain left the EU, it could help him that he was already Foreign Minister.
Prime Minister Martin has been in the Irish Parliament since 1989
Martin has been sitting for the South Central constituency in his hometown of Cork in the Irish Parliament since 1989. Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland. Martin had to prove himself as a crisis manager once before when he took over the presidency of his party shortly before a disastrous election defeat in 2011. The then governing party was punished by voters for the financial imbalance that the country had been hit by in the financial and economic crisis of 2008 and 2009.
But the graduate history teacher managed to regain voters’ trust in the opposition. Among other things, Martin proved to be a pragmatist with his support for same-sex marriage and in the referendum on easing the abortion ban – even if he scared away parts of his conservative base. With his election as head of government, he was able to avoid going down in history as the first Fianna Fail chief who did not become prime minister. Martin is married to Mary O’Shea. The couple had five children, two of whom have already died. (dpa, AFP)
Video: Martin elected Ireland’s new prime minister (Reuters)