Comparison of Electoral Politics

Topics: Sinn Féin, Republic of Ireland, Political party Pages: 6 (2356 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Comparing the electoral politics of most Western and Eastern European countries is like comparing night and day. While most of Western European countries have a strong political system, thriving economy, and a developed government…most Eastern European countries have just started this idea of a democratic nation. Most governments are corrupt and the political officials are not very trustworthy. The economy is also struggling and there is unrest with the people. This transition from communism is giving Eastern Europe a lot of problems. This is the case when comparing the Republic of Ireland and the Republic of Albania. Republic of Ireland The Republic of Ireland has been recognized as an independent state since 1921 resulting from a powerful revolutionary movement led by the Sinn Fein ("Ourselves Alone"), currently the political arm of the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Once very influential in the Irish government the original Sinn Fein was formed in 1905 to promote Irish independence and led the movement that helped produce a free Irish State. Presently their political aim remains unchanged-"the right of the Irish people as a whole to attain national self-determination"(Local Ireland). Wanting to achieve a United Ireland ‘by whatever means necessary' (Local Ireland). Government The Irish government is a parliamentary system with a bicameral legislature. The Executive branch consists of The chief of state, President Mary McAleese (Fianna Fail) was elected in 1997 to a seven year term and is basically a figure-head with no executive powers. The Head of the Government is the Prime Minister Bertie Ahern (Fianna Fail) nominated by the House of Representatives and appointed by the president. The president appoints the Cabinet with previous nomination by the Prime Minister and approval of the House of Representatives. In elections the president is elected by popular vote. The president also appoints the Supreme Court judges on the advice of the government. The Irish Parliament (Oireachtas) consists of the Senate (Seanad Eireann) and the House of Representatives (Dail Eireann). The Senate consists of 60 seats, 49 elected by the universities and from candidates put forward by five vocational panels, while the other 11 are nominated by the Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern. The members serve five-year terms. The House of Representatives has 166 seats elected by direct popular vote and in most counties a proportional representation system calls the single transferable vote system (STV) is used. This complicated system is very rare and is only used in the small Mediterrianian Island of Malta. This system is closely related to the multimember-district system where the voters actually rank their representatives for each district. Each county has from four to seven representatives based on population. The members of the House also serve five-year terms. The Senate is the upper house of parliament and the power of the Senate extends only to delaying for a period of 90 days a bill is passed by the House. The House, like our House of Representatives in the US, proposes the bills. Election The results of the last House election show that the Fianna Fail party received 77 out of the 166 seats. Not a majority. The Irish government achieves majority by forming party coalitions. The other major parties receiving votes were the Fine Gael (54), Labour Party (17), Progressive Democrats (4), Democratic Left (4), Greens (2), Sinn Fein (1), Socialist Party (1), and other independents received 6 votes (Political Handbook 449). In the Senate, the Fianna Fail holds 29 of the 60 seats. Political Parties The Fianna Fail ("Solders of Destiny") has become the largest and most successful party that Ireland has ever had. It is currently in power in a rainbow coalition with the Progressive Democrats and a number of Independent candidates. Securing peace and unity and independence of Ireland has always taken prominence on the political agenda, along with...
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