4/02/2006

Rabitte rules out FF- but will he be out-foxed?

I see Labour leader Pat Rabitte has used his party's conference to once more rule out any suggestion that Labour would consider going into government with either of the current ruling parties i.e. FF and the PDs. Last weekend I gave my views what I thought might be the possible governments after the next election. These were 1. FF/Labour 2. FG/Labour/Greens 3. FF/SF.

However we continue to have the situation where 2 of these 3 options are being ruled out by one of the potential partners. Will somebody be forced into an embarassingly climbdown in order to get their foot into the next government. I think the alternative coalition are completly over-estimating the dip in Fianna Fáil support. While I do think that FF will lose seats, they will still be the largest party by a distance. A Fine Gael/ Labour partnership will not have anywhere near the required number of seats, their only hope is a strong Green performance which could lead to an unstable 3-party coalition. However the Greens are likely to finish 5th in party preferences and may not have a substantial number of seats. As for the PDs, they punched well above their weight in 2002 and preyed on fears of one-party government to gain a vastly more prominent position than the support for their policies would merit. I doubt if they will be a significant player next time round.

My view is that Irish people may want to give Fianna Fáil soemthing of a bloody nose, however I think there will also be a realisation that Bertie Ahern is more likely to be an effective taoiseach than Enda Kenny. Of course. we're looking at something which may be well over a year away and its impossible and probably pointless to make predictions at this stage. However I think its very possible that when all's said and done, some people will cringe at their pronouncements of the past as they contemplate a situation they had not previously envisaged.

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