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Irish general election, 1992

From Academic Kids

Template:Politics of the Republic of Ireland The Irish general election of 1992 was held on Wednesday, November 25, 1992, almost three weeks after the dissolution of the Dáil on November 5. However, after difficulties in forming a government the newly elected 166 members of the 27th Dáil didn't assemble at Leinster House until January 4, 1993. A new Taoiseach and government weren't appointed until January 12.

The general election took place in 41 parliamentary constituencies throughout the Republic of Ireland for 166 seats in the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann

Contents

Campaign

The general election of 1992 was precipitated by the collapse of the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrats coalition government. Allegations of "dishonesty" at the Beef Tribunal forced Desmond O'Malley and his party to part ways with Albert Reynolds's Fianna Fáil. Both Albert Reynolds and John Bruton of Fine Gael were fighting their first general election as leader of their respective parties. For Reynolds it would be his only election as leader. The campaign went very poorly for Fianna Fáil with Reynolds's support dropping by 20%.

Many political pundits had predicted that Fianna Fáil wouldn't be re-elected and that a "Rainbow Coalaition" involving Fine Gael, Labour and possibly the Democratic Left. John Bruton, the leader of Fine Gael, had problems of his own. Opinion polls showed that if a "Rainbow Coalition" came to power, Dick Spring of the Labour Party was seen as a better Taoiseach than Bruton. The possibility of a rotating Taoiseach-ship was also hinted at in the media.

The big winner of the campaign was Dick Spring and the Labour Party. They distanced themselves completely from Fianna Fáil and fought an independent line. During the campaign Spring made very little comment about what the party would do after the election, however, he did say that if Labour was part of a coalition he would have to be granted a turn as Taoiseach.

Result

The results of the general election were as follows:

Party Leader Seats First Preferences
# of Seats Gain/Loss % of Dáil # of Votes %
Fianna Fáil Albert Reynolds 68 -9 41   39.1
Fine Gael John Bruton 45 -10 27.1   24.5
Labour Party Dick Spring 33 +18 19.9   19.3
Progressive Democrats Desmond O'Malley 10 +4 6   4.7
Democratic Left Prionsias de Rossa 4 -3 2.4   2.8
Green Party/Comhaontas Glas none 1 +0 0.6   1.4
Independents 5 +0 3   8.2
  166 0 100.0   100.0

When the votes were counted the picture was clear. Fianna Fáil had its worst performance since 1927, winning less than 40% of the vote. Fine Gael, in spite of predictions of success, actually lost 10 seats. The Labour Party recorded its best ever result and effectively held the balance of power. While mathematically a "Rainbow Coalition" was out of the question Spring had to enter into coalition with Fianna Fáil, or force another election. The coalition deal proved very unpopular with many of Labour’s supporters, due to the fact that Dick Spring had campaigned heavily against Fianna Fáil and particularly Albert Reynolds. As a result of the coalition, Albert Reynolds was elected Taoiseach with over 100 votes, the biggest majority by any Taoiseach in Irish history.

Following a number of scandals in 1994, particularly over the beef industry, Labour left the coalition and, after negotiations, formed the "Rainbow Coalition" with Fine Gael and Democratic Left on December 15, 1994. This was the first time in Irish political history that a party had left a governing coalition and gone into government with opposition parties without first holding an election.

First Time TDs

Retiring TDs

See also


Irish General Elections

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