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30-03-2020, 03:50   #16
BonnieSituation
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Originally Posted by efanton View Post
Generally people will vote for a party. More than often they will vote for a sub par TD in order to support that party.

If a TD is elected, no matter which party they represent, ALL TD's and ALL parties should respect that the people of that constituency elected that TD to represent them as a TD or if that party has sufficient numbers as potentially a minister.
TDs are legislators. They are not delegates* and as such, representing the people is not their primary role.

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Th point remains though that NO party should be excluded from talks in government formation. If there is significant policy differences between two party's then I agree that it is unlikely and unreasonable to expect them to become government partners, those talks would be over in a matter of hours, but never the less should take place.
So there should be meetings involving ALL 160 TDs to shape a government?

The only input the Dáil has in govt formation is the vote for Taoiseach. That's it.

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But the fact remains SF And FF were the most popular party's in the country, and no TD, or existing government member has the right to declare any elected TD unfit to be in government.
We have a PR-STV system. Popularity is not a prerequisite to government formation. It just usually how they are formed. Usually. What happened at the last GE is unprecedented in Irish parliamentary history.

Technically any grouping of at least 80 TDs can form a coalition govt. Nothing stopping anybody, except maths.


*NB. I am of course ignoring the literal translation of TD of "Assembly Delegate" as "Member of the Dáil is the accepted translation today.
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30-03-2020, 06:27   #17
efanton
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TDs are legislators. They are not delegates* and as such, representing the people is not their primary role.
I totally and utterly disagree with your view.
A TD's primary role is to represent their constituents and only implement new legislation when appropriate legislation does not exist, or existent legislation is lacking. It is also their duty to fairly debate and vote on any budget a government may wish to introduce.

The more legislation that is created the more complex our legal system becomes along with all the draw backs that come with that. Civil liberties become eroded, increased policing and all the additional resources that requires (additional gardai and courts personnel, increased administration, higher legal costs), along with the justifiable fear that we end up with a nanny state or a state where executive powers are more likely to be abused if a TD's primary purpose is to enact new legislation.

The vast majority of our country's problems can be addressed with existing legislation and its a TD's primary role to point out where this existing legislation is not being enforced or used to the benefit of their constituents, or to contest or force modification of new legislation that a government may wish to introduce where they feel that legislation does not meet their constituents needs.


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So there should be meetings involving ALL 160 TDs to shape a government?

The only input the Dáil has in govt formation is the vote for Taoiseach. That's it.
You misrepresent totally what I said. I said all parties with a big enough mandate that could form a government should at least have their negotiation teams meet. Maybe a party would be willing to concede key parts of their manifesto in order to form a government, maybe there might be sufficient overlap of policies where a consensus could be arrived at for a potential program of government. Until such a meeting takes place no one would ever know what is negotiable and what is not. I find it impossible to believe that it would take more than eight weeks for any party to realise that they cannot find enough compatible partners to form a government.


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We have a PR-STV system. Popularity is not a prerequisite to government formation. It just usually how they are formed. Usually. What happened at the last GE is unprecedented in Irish parliamentary history.
You do understand the key aim of a PR-STV system? It is to try ensure that a government is formed that most represents the divergent views of the electorate. In an ideal situation the parties that form a government should represent the majority of voters. This obviously is not always possible despite that being the aim of the voting system. In an ideal world there would be a SF/FF coalition already in government as that best represents the results of the election.


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Technically any grouping of at least 80 TDs can form a coalition govt. Nothing stopping anybody, except maths.
Technically you are wrong. 80 seats are not required, but its unlikely that such a government would last long.
In fact it is unlikely in the current situation that a FG/FF coalition would last long once the independents they will rely on jump ship. The point is this election is almost unique in that there is no clear path to forming a government with an overall majority. A time limit on government formation would focus minds on finding common ground and if that was not possible then hasten another election if not enough common ground could be found.

Can you name a single government formed in the history of this state where the party that gained the most seats was not part of government?
It is unlikely you could name a government in any democratic country where the party with the largest number of seats did not enter government?
I would assume there is a good reason why that not the case.

We are now into the eighth week after an election where a government has not been formed and it is unlikely a government will be formed in the next two or three weeks.

I cannot see any reason whatsoever why this country should be without government for almost there months, and quite possibly longer. Surely, especially in the current backdrop of a virus epidemic, there is a perfectly valid case for a time limit to be set on government formation.

Last edited by efanton; 30-03-2020 at 06:30.
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30-03-2020, 21:34   #18
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I cannot see any reason whatsoever why this country should be without government for almost there months, and quite possibly longer. Surely, especially in the current backdrop of a virus epidemic, there is a perfectly valid case for a time limit to be set on government formation.
It could be given to the President to decide that a GE should be called if (s)he is of the opinion, taking the advice of the Council of State, that a Taoiseach cannot command a majority in he Dail.

Currently the President can deny the request for a GE - this would just be the corollary
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31-03-2020, 20:42   #19
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True. but its also ridiculous that FF/FG having refused to even consider SF as a partner. are dancing round in circles as if there can be another government possible now other than a FF/FG/other government.

Had FF not slammed the door in SF's face a FF/SF coalition might have been possible.

The point here is parties were well aware of the few options available to form a government withing the first week, yet they dance around and expect the electorate to belief that they are working as hard as they can to form a government. They are elected representatives its their job to accept the will of the people not the other way round. If FF and SF are the biggest parties with enough commonality to potentially form a government FF had no right to slam doors. It was the peoples right to decide if SF were suitable for government not FG or FF. The same goes for any other party.

With regards that you might not still form a government if there was another election, i think the Irish electorate are savvy enough to adjust their voting to so that the government could be formed, and vent their anger and refuse to vote for parties with the biggest mandates who refuse to form coalitions if it came to a third election. Political parties are well aware of that, and if they get punished for forcing yet more elections that punishment is totally justified.

TD's are elected by the people to do a job, it's their job to now get on with it.
An employee doesn't tell an employer what work conditions or who they will not work with after accepting a job. If theses TD's don't want the job then they should never have stood.

If their manifesto or previous record wasn't sufficient to garner a majority vote then they only have themselves to blame and that goes for all parties including SF. THey must accept what they offered was not acceptable to the majority of the people and be prepared to comprise so a government can be formed. If there was another election and SF/FF had an outright majority then SF have to accept they will be working with FF, and FF will have to accept they will be working with SF and both will have to find common ground. Instead of slinging mud that energy would be better used finding a way to work together.

Its the new reality that from now on this country's elections will not result in one party having a majority. I dont think that has sunk in with the political parties yet, so
I still think a time limited period for forming government would be a good idea.
Why is it ridiculous ? SF policy, or lack thereof , is a complete contrast to what FF and FG Stand for . Now is not the time for newbies and amateurs who know next to nothing about running the country or any form of governance

If the rest of the left decided not to throw their hat in with SF , why should FF and FG ,who have a combined total of over 70 seats between them ,agree to work with SF. We can now all see how laughable and unworkable SF pre election promises have become, if they had any doubt prior to the election

Ff did indeed say no coalition to SF before rhis recent election. They have a mandate from their supporters to not work with SF . FG were never going to work with SF , and whatever about FF and SF actually working (plausible ) FG personnel, history and policy made it a no go .

When you got Mary Lou proudly declaring that they will end FF and FF just after the election count, and form a mad cap left wing coalition (informing labour hostility towards SF ) but that count made it bleeding obvious that they would need to talk to FF or FG , then you got someone who you can’t take seriously . What fool makes such announcements like that ? Can’t even do basic math ...

The sooner the parties, including SF , succeed to form a government the better , if it’s not possible , a new election once this Covid issue is controlled
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31-03-2020, 20:46   #20
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I think its problematic that parties can run with an election promise of "we won't go into coalition with them".

After the results FF and FG both said they couldn't go into coalition with SF because people had voted for them because of this promise. Well who knows what % of their vote had that has a priority, but they made it a pillar of the campaign anyway. This deadlocked things before the count had even started.
It enough for FF TDs to threat to resign if they go and do business with SF. MICHEÁL is on thin ice with his own party and has no wiggle room ,should he be keen on doing a deal with SF (and he’s the one, on paper anyway, to be most against SF) Why ? Sf and FF are chasing the same voters .not in FF business to work with SF . FF will be banking on the usual SF self implosion ,which may not actually arise as they have milked the IRA stuff for a long time now and that well might be running dry
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31-03-2020, 21:00   #21
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Originally Posted by efanton View Post
Generally people will vote for a party. More than often they will vote for a sub par TD in order to support that party.

If a TD is elected, no matter which party they represent, ALL TD's and ALL parties should respect that the people of that constituency elected that TD to represent them as a TD or if that party has sufficient numbers as potentially a minister.

Th point remains though that NO party should be excluded from talks in government formation. If there is significant policy differences between two party's then I agree that it is unlikely and unreasonable to expect them to become government partners, those talks would be over in a matter of hours, but never the less should take place.

But the fact remains SF And FF were the most popular party's in the country, and no TD, or existing government member has the right to declare any elected TD unfit to be in government.
So by your logic, Michael Lowry is fit to be in government .sweet Jesus h Christ ...

It’s not always a vote for the party either, some guys have a personal vote rather than just the party. How else would someone like Brendan Howlin manage to get elected time and time again during Labours highs and lows (he did get one election without campaigning as he was a ceann comhairle)

People waffle about the excellent first preference vote SF got , but that is massively inflated . Not a dig at SF party strategists as they played a blinder .

Look at where they scored their biggest Counts. The border counties , they got 40-45% of the vote in Donegal, Cavan Monaghan , Louth . They did marvellous in the crowded Dublin 8 area with double the quota .

But where else did they get over 40 % ? Again, yes, they toped the polls in many areas, one remarkable one was Cork South Central where 3 ,not 2 , would be Taoisigh /party leaders of the present and future were lagging behind

So do the border counties and Dublin 8 speak for the rest of the State ?

More people voted for non SF parties than they did vote Sf
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31-03-2020, 21:47   #22
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So by your logic, Michael Lowry is fit to be in government .sweet Jesus h Christ ...
He is no longer a member of any party. How would could he possibly be in government unless FF invited him?

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It’s not always a vote for the party either, some guys have a personal vote rather than just the party. How else would someone like Brendan Howlin manage to get elected time and time again during Labours highs and lows (he did get one election without campaigning as he was a ceann comhairle)
Not always, but more than often the case. There are still families and thousands of people in this country that would support a party without even considering who the candidate was, and there is no denying that.

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People waffle about the excellent first preference vote SF got , but that is massively inflated . Not a dig at SF party strategists as they played a blinder .
But its not votes that count is it? It is the number of seats in the Dail attained.

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Look at where they scored their biggest Counts. The border counties , they got 40-45% of the vote in Donegal, Cavan Monaghan , Louth . They did marvellous in the crowded Dublin 8 area with double the quota .

But where else did they get over 40 % ? Again, yes, they toped the polls in many areas, one remarkable one was Cork South Central where 3 ,not 2 , would be Taoisigh /party leaders of the present and future were lagging behind

So do the border counties and Dublin 8 speak for the rest of the State ?

More people voted for non SF parties than they did vote Sf
of 37 SF candidates elected 27 were elected on the first count. Is there really that many constituencies in the border counties? Would it be fairer to say that in general SF did better than every party in most constituencies across the country than any other party if we are talking about first preference votes and not transfers. What they lacked in comparison to FF or FG was total number of candidates. Had they run more there's no doubt that SF would be looking at 40 seats at least. No doubt a lesson learned for SF HQ along with ensuring next time out they have solid transfer agreements with parties that they might rely on, and transfer to, where possible in order to be able to form a government.

More people voted for non SF parties than they did vote Sf agreed, but even more voted against FG or FF. so whats you point? Is there a point?

But the point of the thread was should the constitution be amended. Eight weeks now and no sign of a government. If, and its looking like a bigger if by the day, FF and FF can get their act together and recruit 10 independents we are looking at at least 10 to 12 weeks. Should the country be without government for 3 months, especially in the midst of a crisis that might require further legislation. Would a time limit not have sharpened and focused minds on getting an agreement to form a government quicker?

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31-03-2020, 22:12   #23
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He is no longer a member of any party. How would could he possibly be in government unless FF invited him?


Not always, but more than often the case. There are still families and thousands of people in this country that would support a party without even considering who the candidate was, and there is no denying that.


But its not votes that count is it? It is the number of seats in the Dail attained.



of 37 SF candidates elected 27 were elected on the first count. Is there really that many constituencies in the border counties? Would it be fairer to say that in general SF did better than every party in most constituencies across the country than any other party if we are talking about first preference votes and not transfers. What they lacked in comparison to FF or FG was total number of candidates. Had they run more there's no doubt that SF would be looking at 40 seats at least. No doubt a lesson learned for SF HQ along with ensuring next time out they have solid transfer agreements with parties that they might rely on, and transfer to, where possible in order to be able to form a government.

More people voted for non SF parties than they did vote Sf agreed, but even more voted against FG or FF. so whats you point? Is there a point?
1. Lowry always forms a technical group for speaking rights. McGrath ,Moron and Ross had no problems getting Ministerial roles despite canvassing as Independents . Zappone was also an Independent and she got the children’s gig

Lowry gets voted into the Dáil, by your logic , he has every right to be considered to form a government ,as does most Independents who always form a technical group in order to get speaking rights . There’s nothing stopping any party from inviting any Independent into government, which they have multiple times

2. Don’t deny the blind faith party support ,regardless of candidate , but people do have personal votes too

3. Agree, seats ,not how many first preferences votes,do count, but try telling that to Shinners over the first month since the elections ,waffling about said first preference votes .

4. Two SF candidates got elected on the first count in Donegal . Same in Cavan Monaghan and I think in Louth, or least the second Shinner got in by the third . That 6 TDs in those three constituencies

As for the waffle about if Shinners ran more and being so certain lol . Based on what ? Their existence in many counties is almost non existent and they got wiped out in the locals .

Name one credible SF candidate from Dublin Central who could be strong enough to take advantage of Mary Lou’s surplus vote and get in and avoid splitting Mary Lou’s vote . Likewise do the same for Dublin 8 where Aegnus got a monster vote .

If you look around the countRay, some of the sf folk who got through were already knocking on the door for some time eg the girl in Mayo . A few others do well in the locals so Dáil was possible in time but of course there were a few out of the blue votes eg Westmeath

Nothing against the SF Girl from Roscommon - Galway (and her main area was the small Galway part, so getting elected was impressive ) but she got lucky big time . Something that won’t happen next time , here’s why

FF completely ****ed that up by forcing the sitting FF Td to be partnered up with another FF candidate (Heyden) literally at the last minute, that split the ff vote that is always there in Roscommon . Just like the balls up SF made in Donegal in the General election in 2016, needlessly losing a safe seat when they tried to grab three . That mistake won’t happen in Roscommon again

Then there’s Westmeath Longford. By no means was Boxer Moran that popular despite the Shannon stuff he claimed he did (failed to vote for the army ,which was a death sentence to his political career in a garrison town) ,but the fact that the people in South Westmeath ie Athlone now realise they don’t have a TD , the SF girl in Mullingar , who had unceremoniously got told to jog on in the local elections , would struggle to keep her seat , because FG aren’t going to lose theirs , and Longford will vote tactically too to get their man in (And he won’t be a SF candidate )

Shin Fein ran all the credible candidates that they had and well done them. Had they not spent the last five years bullying people out of the party well, then maybe you’d have a point .
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01-04-2020, 04:14   #24
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1. Lowry always forms a technical group for speaking rights. McGrath ,Moron and Ross had no problems getting Ministerial roles despite canvassing as Independents . Zappone was also an Independent and she got the children’s gig

Lowry gets voted into the Dáil, by your logic , he has every right to be considered to form a government ,as does most Independents who always form a technical group in order to get speaking rights . There’s nothing stopping any party from inviting any Independent into government, which they have multiple times

2. Don’t deny the blind faith party support ,regardless of candidate , but people do have personal votes too

3. Agree, seats ,not how many first preferences votes,do count, but try telling that to Shinners over the first month since the elections ,waffling about said first preference votes .

4. Two SF candidates got elected on the first count in Donegal . Same in Cavan Monaghan and I think in Louth, or least the second Shinner got in by the third . That 6 TDs in those three constituencies

As for the waffle about if Shinners ran more and being so certain lol . Based on what ? Their existence in many counties is almost non existent and they got wiped out in the locals .

Name one credible SF candidate from Dublin Central who could be strong enough to take advantage of Mary Lou’s surplus vote and get in and avoid splitting Mary Lou’s vote . Likewise do the same for Dublin 8 where Aegnus got a monster vote .

If you look around the countRay, some of the sf folk who got through were already knocking on the door for some time eg the girl in Mayo . A few others do well in the locals so Dáil was possible in time but of course there were a few out of the blue votes eg Westmeath

Nothing against the SF Girl from Roscommon - Galway (and her main area was the small Galway part, so getting elected was impressive ) but she got lucky big time . Something that won’t happen next time , here’s why

FF completely ****ed that up by forcing the sitting FF Td to be partnered up with another FF candidate (Heyden) literally at the last minute, that split the ff vote that is always there in Roscommon . Just like the balls up SF made in Donegal in the General election in 2016, needlessly losing a safe seat when they tried to grab three . That mistake won’t happen in Roscommon again

Then there’s Westmeath Longford. By no means was Boxer Moran that popular despite the Shannon stuff he claimed he did (failed to vote for the army ,which was a death sentence to his political career in a garrison town) ,but the fact that the people in South Westmeath ie Athlone now realise they don’t have a TD , the SF girl in Mullingar , who had unceremoniously got told to jog on in the local elections , would struggle to keep her seat , because FG aren’t going to lose theirs , and Longford will vote tactically too to get their man in (And he won’t be a SF candidate )

Shin Fein ran all the credible candidates that they had and well done them. Had they not spent the last five years bullying people out of the party well, then maybe you’d have a point .
Lowry has no party. When people vote for him they do not expect him to be sitting at the cabinet table. If that happens its a bonus for them, but only through the stupidity of a FF government that would invite him.

Even if an independent got roped in to make the number for a government to be formed you can be damn sure they will be following the party line of whoever they are supporting, As far as the voter is concerned if they vote FG and FG use an independent then that independent is for all intensive purposes a FG man for the duration of that government. Same story if FF or SF had to use an independent to make up the numbers (except for the bit about them being a FG man of course )

As for the rest of your post what has that all to do with the topic of the thread?

Should there be a time limit for formation of government or some other trigger such as the president being able to determine that a new election should be called if they feel there is no progress on forming a coalition as Sam Russell has suggested?
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01-04-2020, 08:44   #25
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I cannot see any reason whatsoever why this country should be without government for almost there months, and quite possibly longer. Surely, especially in the current backdrop of a virus epidemic, there is a perfectly valid case for a time limit to be set on government formation.
But your a SF supporter no? How long did NI go without a government?
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01-04-2020, 08:54   #26
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It seems to me that there is nothing to stop a previous government going a whole 5 year term in these hung dail situations. We currently have an number of ministers who have lost their seats, even though the constitution says a minister must be a TD (or 2 can come from the seanad). Surely at a minimum portfolios of ministers who have lost their seats should be reassigned to ministers with seats.
If you're gung ho to change the Constitution be sure you know what part of it you are going after. Article 28 will tell you what's going on at present. It is a simple approach and has served us well but with upheavals of 2016 and now 2020 it has people imagining there is all sorts of nefarious skullduggery afoot. Once you even get a possible amendment down on paper you had better make sure the public understand what it is and why they need to vote, otherwise it will be rejected.
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01-04-2020, 10:40   #27
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Can you name a single government formed in the history of this state where the party that gained the most seats was not part of government?
There have been at 3 coalition governments in my lifetime than have excluded the party with the most seats and I'm in my early 40s. The only thing that entitles any party to be in government is a parliamentary majority.

While I agree that there should be a timely repeat election in the instance that parties fail to come together to command a parliamentary majority, lets kill the notion that any party has a right to be in government just because they got one more seat than another party

I doubt you'd complain if the seat tally had been or possibly after the next election would be FG(45) SF(43) FF(40) and SF and FF went on to form a government, excluding FG which makes your argument disingenuous here.
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01-04-2020, 18:18   #28
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There have been at 3 coalition governments in my lifetime than have excluded the party with the most seats and I'm in my early 40s. The only thing that entitles any party to be in government is a parliamentary majority.

While I agree that there should be a timely repeat election in the instance that parties fail to come together to command a parliamentary majority, lets kill the notion that any party has a right to be in government just because they got one more seat than another party

I doubt you'd complain if the seat tally had been or possibly after the next election would be FG(45) SF(43) FF(40) and SF and FF went on to form a government, excluding FG which makes your argument disingenuous here.

No, I am not insisting that te party with the most seats MUST be part of any government formed. I dont believe I ever said that.
Yes, I do believe that the onus was on the parties with the two biggest numbers of seats to meet and try find a way to forming government.
If that was no a possibility, and I accept that no party can be forced into coalition, then unless other parties can come forward to form a coalition then a new general election should be called. All that takes time, but it does not take eight weeks to make those decisions.

No I am not being disingenuous. I believe this should be the case no mater which party it benefits or does not benefit including SF.
With a fixed time limit parties would be far more active in forming a coalition if possible and we would not see a situation like this where it could be 3 months before we have a government.

Even now its uncertain that a FF/FG collation will work, today Labour categorically ruled themselves out, the Green have already said they want no part of a FF/FG coalition, which leaves FF/FG looking for 10 independents.
Its likely that if FF/FG finally commit to agreeing to form a coalition there will still be a few weeks before they get the extra seats required.
Had they known there was a limit all this effort we see in the last week or so would have taken place more than a month ago. So yes for the benefit of the country, not any particular party, I believe there should be a time limit on government formation, at which point a new election is automatically called.

Last edited by efanton; 01-04-2020 at 18:23.
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03-04-2020, 13:48   #29
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TDs are legislators. They are not delegates* and as such, representing the people is not their primary role.



So there should be meetings involving ALL 160 TDs to shape a government?

The only input the Dáil has in govt formation is the vote for Taoiseach. That's it.



We have a PR-STV system. Popularity is not a prerequisite to government formation. It just usually how they are formed. Usually. What happened at the last GE is unprecedented in Irish parliamentary history.

Technically any grouping of at least 80 TDs can form a coalition govt. Nothing stopping anybody, except maths.


*NB. I am of course ignoring the literal translation of TD of "Assembly Delegate" as "Member of the Dáil is the accepted translation today.
Dropped in here to see if there is any constitutional bar to the caretaker Taoiseach simply appointing a pre-agreed list of Taoiseach Nominees with a Dáil vote in approval and the existing government continuing in caretaker roll until initial COVID-19 emergency has passed.

But is appears from reading some posts that there appears to be some confusion evidenced on the role of political parties.

Constitutionally there is none, legally they are just voluntary associations the same as a local tennis club. Dáil Standing Orders have been used to channel monies to them which though not in envisaged in the Constitution can be construed as within it's powers to organise itself as granted by the Constitution.

The 1986 and 1992 Acts relate to registration of political parties for the purposes regulating the identification of a party affiliation on ballot papers.

Each TD is elected solely as an individual representative of the constituency electorate, political parties are and always have been a branding exercise.

(16) 2 1° Dáil Éireann shall be composed of members who represent constituencies determined by law.
(16) 2 1° Ionadóirí do dháilcheantair a shocraítear le dlí comhaltas Dháil Éireann.

PS The English version of the Constitution is the original, the translated version though having practical primacy can only have meaning on the semantic equivalence current at time of translation, not on 'current understanding'. Teachta Dála does not appear there.
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03-04-2020, 14:07   #30
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How else would someone like Brendan Howlin manage to get elected time and time again during Labours highs and lows (he did get one election without campaigning as he was a ceann comhairle)
He was only Leas Ceann Comhairle, they still have to be re-elected as normal. He was still the second TD elected in the constituency as is normal (first or second since 1989)
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