After just over three weeks of campaigning and two days of lengthy counting, we’ve finally arrived at a result which sees all 160 Dail seats now officially filled.
But don’t get too excited because it’s possible that might have been the easy part!
With the three main parties Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Fine Gael ending up on 38, 37 and 35 seats respectively the makeup of the next Irish Government is anything but clear and signifies a huge shift in terms of the Irish political landscape. It also leaves us in a scenario for the first time in the modern era where no two parties have the ability to combine and command a majority of 80
Prepare yourself for the political equivalent of horse-trading and shadow boxing!
So what are the most likely outcomes from all of this:
Currently the favourite in terms of the next government and a combination that would result in 87 seats; a number which could be considered a stable government. But with the seats practically level between FF and SF, who would get the job as Taoiseach?
It’s won’t be outgoing Leo Varadkar (14/1) under such an arrangement, that’s for sure. Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin remains an odds-on favourite to be Taoiseach at 2/5 despite his party’s seat losses, with Mary Lou McDonald second at 2/1 and Green leader Eamon Ryan a distant 50/1.
At 7/1 this would be a minority government as it could only reach 75 seats and would have to be supported by others. A precarious position to govern from.
They would need a minimum of five independents to make this work. Yes, there are Fianna Fail “Gene-Pool” independents (former party members who have gone it alone) that could be courted but again stability is an issue.
There was plenty of interest in this “Grand Coalition” before voting kicked off as FG were seen to be in more trouble than FF. Turns out they were both heading for a disastrous election.
Combined they only make up 73 seats and this would need to be supported by the opposition. Not a position either of these parties expected to be in and not one they really want to be in. It could also be disingenuous to SF voters who have given the party a mandate to govern, not head for opposition!
*All odds correct at time of publication