Irish Snap Election Odds Suggest Coalition Will Trigger 2021 Vote

Irish Snap Election Odds Suggest Coalition Will Trigger 2021 Vote
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Ireland could hold a snap election in 2021 to resolve a gridlock at the top of government as three parties balance power following last year’s unprecedented results.

Irish politics was cast into disarray last February when three political parties – Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin – all received a vote share of between 20% and 25%.

Sinn Féin’s emergence into the heart of Irish politics once again has meant the two traditionally stronger parties have been forced into a three-way coalition with the Greens during a time when the coronavirus pandemic has rocked Irish society.

Leo Varadkar remained Taoiseach after the vote despite Fine Gael claiming the fewest seats of the three biggest parties. He was eventually replaced by Micheál Martin last summer after Fianna Fáil went into coalition with the Greens and Fine Gael, thus keeping Sinn Féin out.

And with fractions splitting the Irish Parliament frequently over the past year, it appears as though a snap election is looming.

Irish Politics Betting Odds

That is according to bookmakers Betfair, who have priced 2021 as the most likely year for the next Irish general election in a new market launched this winter. The odds of an election being called before December are set at 2/1, while the chances of this parliament lasting until the next scheduled election in 2025 are out at 5/2.

That gives an implied probability of 33.3% that the people of Ireland will head to the polls once again this year.

Betfair spokesperson Katie Baylis said: “It’s no surprise that governments across Europe are under pressure in 2021 dealing with the pandemic. This is very much true in Ireland.

“A three-party coalition is often unstable with different factions in the government itself often competing with each other. That combined with the challenges ahead in 2021 means it won’t necessarily take much to bring big political changes.”

Issues to Address

The impact of coronavirus – both on a social and economic level – is expected to drive the election campaigns of all political parties should a date be set for this year. On top of that, Ireland’s relationship with Northern Ireland has been cast under the spotlight after the Brexit deal was signed off between the UK and EU in late 2020.

In an interview with the Irish Sunday Mirror, Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said: “I think Fine Gael are being less than generous to Fianna Fail. I think there’s a bit of undermining going on.

“If it [the election] happens we’ll be ready. We’re already making preparations for the years ahead. The big issue is we have job growth.”

And there are also rumblings over whether the Taoiseach would lead Fianna Fáil into the next general election – one that, if the odds are to be believed, might be just around the corner.

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