FG set for government, FF for meltdown, Labour for coalition?
One of the world’s longest election counts is now underway, with unofficial (but normally very accurate) vote tallies coming in from all over Ireland. Most first counts won’t be declared until mid-afternoon or even early evening, and it’s likely to take well into Sunday for the counting to near its finish.
What is already clear is that this will be a historic election in the history of the Irish Republic, with Fianna FÃ¡il, which has not lost an election since 1932, in meltdown, with their exit poll vote share down a massive 26 points to just 15% (and down 31 points in Dublin!).
The RTE exit poll released at 8am showed Fine Gael set for government with 36%, with Labour in a strong second place showing with a highest ever share at 20%, followed by FF in third, with Sinn Fein in fourth with a record 10%, and the Greens on 3, while the share for Independents and Others was at a large 15%.
Due to the complexity of the STV electoral system, no seat projections were attached to the exit poll, although Trinity College’s Michael Marsh made a prediction of FG 72, Labour 38, FF 20, SF 15, Greens 1, with 20 Independents/Others.
It thus looks as though Fine Gael will be short of the 84 seats needed for a majority, and although it might be possible for them to persuade some like-minded Independents to support them (the “Others” are set to be a very mixed bag, including some Left TDs), if we are to believe the betting markets, it’s a dead cert for it to be a Fine Gael/Labour coalition, with Paddy Power currently rating this combination at a very short-priced 1/33.
In the Election Game, with 81 entries, average seat predictions were FG 71, Labour 35, FF 29, SF 13, Greens 4 and Others 14.