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In Finland three large parties for some thirthy years (roughly 1980-2010) dominated the scene - the Soc-dems, the Centre (rural) and the Conservatives, with a gradually developing formula of the two largest forming the coalition (with a smattering of smaller parties) and the third leading the opposition.

So a three party system can be done, though it seems likely that one of FG or FF will decline.

by fjallstrom on Sat Feb 29th, 2020 at 11:31:15 AM EST
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Possible but unlikely in the Irish situation because of the Irish electorate's habit of punishing whatever party accepts a junior role in a coalition. The Labour party has been all but destroyed, the Progressive Democrats have disappeared, and the Greens are only now recovering 10 years after propping up a disastrous Fianna Fail government.

What is different this time is how closely grouped the three parties are. If Fianna Fail and Fine Gael form a joint coalition and rotate the office of Taoiseach, then the ultimate outcome is still in doubt. But the suspicion is that whoever loses ground is set for a precipitous decline the next time around.

The Labour party and the Social democrats - 6 seats each - have both said they won't enter into a FF/FG government arrangement- fearful of being seen to prop up a conservative government at a time when the electorate voted for change. The Greens, being a policy driven party, might just about get away with it, if they are seen to have a significant and positive impact on policy.

But most likely is probably a FF/FG government propped up by a mixed bag of independents cutting local deals on hospitals, roads, and targetted expenditure in their constituencies - to the annoyance of everybody else, particularly government back-benchers in constituencies not so favoured. But another election is also possible if FF/FG can't get their act together, and then I would expect Sinn Fein to do even better.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Feb 29th, 2020 at 12:27:03 PM EST
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