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Why Sinn Féin is surging in the Irish election

The story of the once-fringe party's electoral surge began with the global financial crisis that crushed the Irish economy in 2008. This created the conditions for Sinn Féin to move away from its image as a single-issue party on Irish unity.

During an international bailout program that required crippling tax hikes and spending cuts, Sinn Féin positioned itself as an anti-austerity party akin to European left-wing parties like Spain's Podemos and Greece's Syriza. It also became a visible presence in street protests against Ireland's austerity measures.

Sinn Féin went on to cultivate a progressive image, campaigning prominently in favor of Ireland's landmark referendums to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015 and abortion in 2018.


For some Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael voters, preventing Sinn Féin from getting into power would be a popular move in itself. It's possible that the two parties may opt to come together in a governing arrangement once again, perhaps with the support of one of Ireland's smaller, less controversial parties, such as Labour or the Greens.
by Bernard on Tue Feb 4th, 2020 at 09:01:54 PM EST
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