Irish Election: Polls Point to Varadkar's Exit

The people of Ireland will go to the polls on the 8th of February after the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, dissolved parliament last week.

Varadkar, of Fine Gael, will hope to be re-elected as the Irish Prime Minister, however, recent polls indicate that public mood is moving against the former doctor.

The three most recent polls all point to Fine Gael being replaced as the governing party, by Fianna Fáil, who they currently have a confidence and supply arrangement with in Dáil Éireann.

The recent IPSOS-MORI also asked its 1,200 participants question over the direction that the previous government had taken the country in. The replies showed that the Irish public feel dissatisfied with Varadkar’s premiership.

55% of respondents believe that the government has taken the country in the wrong direction, and 3/4 of those involved argued Ireland should take some ‘radical’ changes in the next election.

In 2016, Varadkar’s predecessor, Enda Kennedy, won the election with 25.5% support. Micheál Martin, who still leads Fianna Fáil, finished in second with 24.3%. And the controversial figure of Gerry Adams led Sinn Féin to third place with 13.8%.

The two main parties have vowed not to work with Sinn Féin, who are now led by Mary Lou McDonald. These stem from the party’s history of violence, as it is deeply associated with the Irish Republican Army. The Taioseach said that her party is ‘not a normal party’.

However, McDonald, who is expected to win over a lot of support from the younger demographic in Ireland, is polled to lead her party to win around 1/5 of the vote, making her the party’s most successful leader since Éamon de Valera in 1923.

Martin’s party are expected to return to prominence in Irish politics by winning 28%. This will see them become the largest party in Ireland for the first time since 2007.

This is, on average, six points above Fine Gael on 22%. The event that saw Varadkar’s rise in global politics was Brexit, and as it happens, just a week after the United Kingdom will leave the European Union, the Taioseach may lose all of the power and clout that he has wielded over the last few years.

The J-Word hopes to cover several other elections this year. Including British local elections, the Polish presidential race, regional elections in Italy and Spain, all Antipodean elections, and of course, the US presidential election.

By J Walters

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