Bertie Ahern must have choking on his cornflakes this morning as he read the latest opinion poll figures which show a drop in support for Fianna Fáil. The governing party now command the support of only 33% according to the latest opinion polls. This represents a drop from 37% a few months ago.
However, it seems that the Irish people are not overly enamoured with FF’s main rivals for the position of Taoiseach as Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael are still well behind Fianna Fáil with 25% support. More bad news for the so-called “alternative coalition” is that Labour have dropped to 11% leaving them level with Sinn Féin in the battle to be the 3rd biggest party in the 26 counties. The main winners seem to be the Greens who are up to 7% while the PDs trail in behind the rest with only 4%.
Now I realise that its impossible to predict how these figures will change between now and an election and of course, governments are not decided by popular support but rather by numbers of TDs and the ability of politicians to put together an acceptable and stable coalition. However its interesting to note that neither the Fianna Fáil/ PD (37%) nor the FG/Labour (36%) combinations seem to have overwhelming support. At the minute neither option would seem to be a viable government. My guess is however that the Irish people will prefer to see Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach rather than Enda Kenny but I do feel that people have had enough of the PDs who may well see their TD representation collapse. If Fine Gael are to be successful, they undoubtedly have to attract another partner to sit beside them along with Labour and the Greens would probably be their preferred option. Its far too early to tell but I have a feeling that after the election the numbers of TDs will leave only a small number of possible governments.
Fianna Fáil/ Labour coalition
Fine Gael/ Labour/ Green coaltion
Fianna Fáil/ Sinn Féin coalition
I have no doubt that if necessary, Bertie would go to Sinn Féin to attempt to form a government, whatever his current protestations. However I do feel that Labour is more likely to be his first port of call and that he will receive a more generous reception than the party would currently have you believe.
Certainly there are interesting times ahead and if I were to repeat this exercise in a few months, I’m sure I may have some completely different theories!
By the way, the more eagle eyed among you will notice that I've changed my "posting name". I've done this for a couple of reasons a. I was sick of having the more boring name on the Irish blogosphere but also, more importantly, it was doing my head in having my posts mixed up with Chris' all the time! I asked you all a while back to suggest a new name but "Chris 2" was the best you unimaginative lot could come with! In the end I went for the title of one of my favourite songs and hopefully it'll serve me well.