Irish Set to Boot Government
Today's election likely to see voters take revenge on ruling party
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2011 4:55 AM CST
A Sinn Fein Election poster on a telegraph pole near the village of Dungloe, county Donegal, Ireland.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)
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(Newser) – After two years of being walloped by the global financial crisis, Irish voters are expected to boot out the ruling Fianna Fáil party in elections today, replacing it with the more conservative Fine Gael. Analysts—and bookies—believe Fine Gael will not get enough votes for an outright majority, and will form a coalition with the left-wing Labour Party, reports the Guardian. Relations between the two parties have been improving in recent weeks, although Labour has complained about last-minute dirty tricks from Catholic right-wingers, who have plastered Dublin with stickers claiming "a vote for Labour is a vote for abortion."

With Ireland renegotiating its EU bailout package, worth about €80 billion—more than 45% of Ireland's GDP—the stakes are high. Fine Gael says it wants to reduce Ireland's deficit to 3% of the GDP by 2014, but the other parties warn that too much austerity could further devastate the Irish economy. Fianna Fáil has never received less than 39% of the vote since 1932, but this election the party will likely get only about 16%.