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May 26, 2007

FF Needs Coalition To Form Govt

News about Ireland & the Irish

RT 05/26/07 Attention Turns To Formation Of Government
BN 05/26/07 Kenny Refuses To Concede, Ahern Defiant
RT 05/26/07 Counting Resumes In Seven Constituencies
BN 05/25/07 McDowell Concedes Defeat
BN 05/26/07 SF 'Come To Terms With Election Failings'


--------------Held Now----Predictions---2:30 PM Irish Time
----------------------------(Diff)-----(Currently Predicted)

Fianna Fail------78--------70-(- 8)------72 ( 78 )
Fine Gael--------33--------44-(+11)------45 ( 51 )
Labour-----------21--------24-(+ 3)------17 ( 21?)
Independents-----14-------- 9-(- 5)------05 ( 05 )
PDs-------------- 8-------- 9-(+ 1)------01 ( 02 )
Greens----------- 6-------- 9-(+ 3)------05 ( 06 )
Sinn Fein-------- 5-------- 8-(+ 3)------03 ( 04?)
Socialists------- 1-------- 2-(+ 1)------00 ( )

(Poster's Note: Possible coalitions:

FF + Labour = 98 (or 99) (Labour will want a lot for this)
FF + Greens = 84 (Greens will want less)
FF + PDs + Independents (2) = 82 (considered unstable – but
even fewer concessions would be needed)

FG + Labour + Greens + (Independents (?) or SF) = 80+
(FG coalition considered unlikely.)

RTE live coverage is now off the air. Jay)


Attention Turns To Formation Of Government

Saturday, 26 May 2007 11:45

Political attention is now turning to the formation of the next

Bertie Ahern is on course for a third term as Taoiseach, as
Fianna Fail is set to win 78 seats when all seats are filled.

21 seats are yet to be finally decided in Election 2007, and
those seats may take some time to fill, due to a complete recheck
of all 55,000 ballot papers in Dublin North.

However, despite rechecks and recounts, the likely final share
for the parties is clear, with the possible exception of Dublin
South-Central, where Labour's Eric Byrne could still beat Sinn
Fein's sitting TD Aengus O'Snodaigh.

Fianna Fail's performance is stronger than had been anticipated,
while Fine Gael also did well and should end up with 51 seats.

Labour will have either 20 or 21, depending on the result in
Dublin South Central - the Greens will have six, Sinn Fein either
three or four, the PDs two and there will be five Independents.

That number represents a major reduction in the number of
Independents, and is compounded by the spectacular the loss of
the seat of the Socialist Party's Joe Higgins.

Much of the speculation now centres on a possibly Fianna
Fail/Green coalition.

The Taoiseach said he wants to ensure stability in government
over the next five years, but declined to say whether he would
approach the Labour Party to form a government.

He said Fianna Fail had performed well in the general election
because of an upsurge in support among young people, especially
those under 25.

The Taoiseach also paid tribute to Michael McDowell, describing
him as a tough and bright politician.

General Secretary of the Progressive Democrats John Higgins has
said his party's poor showing in the election highlighted the
need for candidates to work 'on the ground'.

He also tipped Mary Harney to resume her leadership of the PDs,
describing her as 'steadfast'.

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte has also suggested Ms Harney may
retake control of the party following Mr McDowell's retirement
from political life.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael Waterford TD John Deasy has criticised party
leader Enda Kenny.

He said that the party needed 'an attitude change and a credible
leader' after it failed to secure enough votes to form the next
government with Labour.

The outgoing Dublin North-East Labour deputy, Tommy Broughan, has
also criticised his party leader's election strategy.

He accused Fine Gael of cannibalising smaller parties, and said
he never agreed with the agreement drawn up between the two
parties in Mullingar in 2004.

Mr Rabbitte has reacted to Mr Broughan's criticism of his
election strategy.

The Labour leader said he did 'what he thought was right'.


Kenny Refuses To Concede, Ahern Defiant

26/05/2007 - 07:34:31

The formation of the next Government will become clearer today as
the final votes are counted in an extraordinary General Election.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is expected to secure a third term in
office with 41.6% of support but Opposition leader Enda Kenny
last night refused to concede defeat.

Fianna Fail broke through the 60-seat barrier around midnight and
Mr Ahern said he expected 78 party TDs to be elected to the 30th

With half of the counts completed, Fine Gael has 43 TDs but
believes it could assemble a 77-seat tally with Labour and the

Refusing to speculate on possible Coalition partners, Mr Ahern
said last night: "Whatever I try to do - and I'm not going to
work that out now - my favoured option is to man a stable
government for a five-year term."

The biggest election casualty was outspoken Progressive Democrats
leader and Mr Ahern's deputy, Michael McDowell, who immediately
announced he was quitting politics.

Mr Ahern said of the his party's unexpectedly buoyant
performance: "There are very few parties anywhere in Europe who
could have achieved what Fianna Fail did today.

"For that I am just hugely proud as the president of the Fianna
Fail organisation."

In a frank interview on RT TV, Mr Ahern also attacked the media
for trying to "kick the life out of" politicians attempting to do
their jobs.

"It isn't really about a bloodsport. It isn't really about trying
to denigrate people. It's about how the country is run and how it
is managed."

The new Dail will have its first husband and wife duo, Joe McHugh
and Olwyn Enright for Fine Gael and the first wheelchair-user,
Sean Connick of Fianna Fail.

The biggest first preference vote was achieved by outgoing
Defence Minister Willie O'Dea in Limerick East who polled 2.3
times his constituency quota.


Counting Resumes In Seven Constituencies

Saturday, 26 May 2007 11:24

Counting for the last few seats in the General Election resumes
in a number of constituencies this morning.

With counting completed in 36 of the 43 constituencies, Fianna
Fail has so far won 72 out of 166 Dail seats, representing a
41.6% share of the vote.

Fine Gael has won 43 seats, Labour 17, the Greens five and Sinn
Fein three.

With a number of election counts due to resume later today, the
party totals seem likely to be as follows:

Fianna Fail 78
Fine Gael 51
Labour 20 or 21 depending on the result in Dublin South Central
Greens 6
Sinn Fein 3 or 4, again depending on Dublin South Central
PDs 2
Independents 5

Fianna Fail will have three seats less than it won in 2002, while
the PDs come back with just a quarter of their outgoing total.

Together, they will have 80 seats, and would probably be able to
get some Independent support - but the arithmetic strongly
suggests a deal between Fianna Fail and the Greens.

However, if the Greens backed Enda Kenny, he would have the
support of 77 or 78 deputies - leaving the balance of power with
the 5 Independents and the 3 or 4 Sinn Fein TDs.

Fine Gael has had a very good election, not quite clawing back
the losses suffered five years ago, but still adding a very
impressive twenty seats.

After recovering from a slow start in the counts, Labour has
recovered well and looks like being at or just one under its 2002

Apart from the PDs, the big losers are Sinn Fein, which has lost
at least one sitting TD and won none of its targets.


McDowell Concedes Defeat

25/05/2007 - 21:25:10

Tanaiste Michael McDowell tonight conceded he had lost his seat
in the General Election.

The Progressive Democrat leader admitted he had lost to the Green
Party's John Gormley in the Dublin South East constituency for
the third time in three elections.

The Tanaiste said: "My period in public life as a public
representative is over."

Mr McDowell took over as party leader just six months ago and had
pledged to double its tally of eight seats.

His failure to hold on to his seat and the loss of seats
including that of his deputy leader Liz O'Donnell in Dublin South
now casts doubt over his position as PD leader.

It also raises the prospect of him leaving politics forever.

It is the third time the outgoing Minister for Justice has lost
his seat in less than 20 years.

Life in politics has been a rollercoaster for the outspoken
barrister since he helped found his party in 1985. In six
elections, he has been elected three times and missed out three

In 1997, his Green Party rival Mr Gormley beat him by just 27
votes after a week-long count.

Following the last election in June 2002, he was appointed
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, and in September
2006 Mr McDowell took over as party leader when Minister for
Health Mary Harney stepped down and handed over the role of

Mr McDowell nearly pulled his PD party out of the Fianna Fail-led
Government during the General Election campaign.

He believed Taoiseach Bertie Ahern had further questions to
answer on controversies surrounding his personal finances - an
issue that dominated media coverage.

Mr Ahern later published a personal statement that sought to put
the crisis to rest.

Mr McDowell was the harshest critic of Sinn Fein and the IRA
within the Government.

He previously accused Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin
McGuinness of sitting on the IRA's ruling Army Council.

A close friend of Mr McDowell said tonight: "It is ironic that
having contributed to this election to limiting Sinn Fein's
growth and scaring voters into rejecting a left-wing government,
this strategist has ended up losing his own seat."

Mr McDowell is a grandson of Eoin MacNeill, founder of the Irish
Volunteers and co-founder of the Gaelic League.

Mr Gormley, who had an angry spat during the election with the
Progressive Democrat leader on the streets of the constituency,
sympathised with Mr McDowell.

"I wish Michael McDowell and his family the very best because I
know what it is like," the victorious Green candidate said.

"I have been through the ringer today and I am sure he has. I
think that many people do not appreciate just how difficult an
election campaign can be.

"For some people an election campaign is a bit like reality TV
but for us it is a difficult situation. So I wish Michael, Niamh
his wife and his family all the very best."


SF 'Come To Terms With Election Failings'

26/05/2007 - 07:44:55

Sinn Fein were today coming to terms with a disastrous end to
their ambitious plan to secure major gains in the General

The party's representation in the Dail was down at least one seat
after a high-profile loss in Dublin and the failure to capture
several other heavily targeted seats.

The normally stoic and resilient party leadership struck an
unusually resigned note having insisted early in the campaign
their expected gains would be one of the big stories.

They were grasping on to hope early into the morning that a gain
in Donegal North East might lessen the pain of the collapse of
their planned breakthrough.

But Padraig MacLochlainn was finally squeezed out in a long drawn
out contest that went down to the wire with two outgoing Fianna
Fail TDs James McDaid and Niall Blaney returned along with shock
Fine Gael poll topper Joe McHugh.

Caoimhghin O Caolain, Martin Ferris and Arthur Morgan all managed
to secure their re-election to the 30th Dail but Aengus
O'Snodaigh was left fighting for his seat in Dublin South

The shock loss of Sean Crowe's seat in Dublin South West and
widely-tipped MEP Mary Lou McDonald's defeat in Dublin Central
poured ice cold water on the party's already dampened spirits.

Mary Lou McDonald says the party obviously failed to make the
gains predicted by most pundits and this was a disappointment.

However, she said the election effectively became a battle
between Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny, with the smaller parties
being squeezed out.

Pearse Doherty's impact in Donegal South West failed to translate
into a new seat despite doubling the party's vote in the
constituency since the 2002 poll.

Pat Doherty, Sinn Fein vice-president and national director of
elections, signalled that party chiefs were resigned to the
situation as early as the afternoon on the first day of counting.

"All of the smaller parties have been caught up in the surge for
Fianna Fail and Fine Gael," he said.

"The vote just didn't come through for us and it's going to take
a bit of analysis after the election."

Party strategists went home from count centres with a strange
feeling that they had got it wrong on a day when several targeted
gains failed to materialise.

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