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Irish general election, 1973

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Template:Politics of the Republic of Ireland The Irish general election of 1973 was held on February 28, 1973. The newly elected 148 members of the 20th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on March 14 when the new Taoiseach and government were appointed.

The general election took place in 42 parliamentary constituencies throughout the Republic of Ireland for 148 seats in the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann

Contents

Campaign

By the time the general election was called in 1973, Fianna Fáil had been in power for almost sixteen consecutive years. During that period the party had seen three different leaders, Eamon de Valera, Seán F. Lemass and the current leader of the party, Jack Lynch. As a result of this, much of the electorate believed it was time for a change of government. Lynch had hoped to dissolve the Dáil in December of 1972, however events conspired against him and the election was eventually called for February of 1973.

While Fine Gael and the Labour Party had pursued their own opposition policies since 1957 they now realised that the only way to oust Fianna Fáil would be to join forces. Not long after the general election was called both parties agreed to a pre-election pact in order to fight the election together on the issues that united them. The National Coalition as it was known offered the electorate the first alternative credible government in many years.

Results

The results were as follows:

Party Leader Seats First Preferences
# of Seats Gain/Loss % of Dáil # of Votes %
Fianna Fáil Jack Lynch 69 -6 47.91   46.2
Fine Gael Liam Cosgrave 54 +4 37.5   35.1
Labour Party Brendan Corish 19 +1 13.19   13.7
Independents 2 +1 1.38   5
  144   100.0   100.0

While Fianna Fáil acually increased its percentage of the vote it lost seats. The increase in the percentage was remarkable considering the party had been in power for so long, and also because of the "Arms Crisis". A clever use of transfers via the proportional representation system for the National Coalition parties made certain that a change of government would take place.

Coverage of the general election by the national broadcaster, Radio Telefís Éireann, also saw a unique event. Jack Lynch, in an interview with Brian Farrell on the programme, became the first Taoiseach to concede defeat live on Irish television. Although the full result was not known Lynch was certain that the transfers to other candidates would result in Fianna Fáil losing the general election.

First Time TDs

Retiring TDs

See also


Irish General Elections

Irish flag

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