Monday, 26 October 2009 10:58
Ireland's political landscape changes dramatically as Fianna Fáil sinks to record low in council and European elections.
For the first time in its history, Fine Gael has become Ireland's largest party in terms of local government members and members of the European Parliament.
At the 2009 Local election and European Parliament election, both held on the same day in June 5th 2009, Fine Gael won a third of the vote with 340 council seats and 4 elected members of the European Parliament.
Local election results gave Fine Gael 32.2% of the vote, followed by Fianna Fáil with 25.4%, Labour with 14.7%, Sinn Féin with 7.4%, the Greens with 2.3%, and Independents and other small parties with 18%.
Support for Fianna Fáil, traditionally Ireland's most popular party, sank to record lows after suffering big swings in its traditional strongholds.
The Green Party, which is currently in a Government coalition with Fianna Fáil, suffered also a dramatic collapse with a drop of seats from 18 to just three.
There was further misery for Fianna Fáil as by-election polls in Dublin South and Dublin Central reduced the Government's parliamentary majority down to just three TDs.
Fine Gael won the by-election in Dublin South and Independent Maureen O’Sullivan won in Dublin Central, giving the opposition a total of 81 TDs in the Irish Parliament as against 84 TDs for the Government.
Following the local election results, Fine Gael tabled a motion of no confidence in the Government and called on Taoiseach Brian Cowen to dissolve the Dáil, but the Government won the confidence vote in the Irish Parliament by 85 votes in favour and 79 against.
Latest polls published by The Independent and RTÉ suggests that if a general election was to be called, Fine Gael would win with a 37% of the vote, followed by Labour and Fianna Fáil with a 21% each.