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Ireland's Labor to renew leadership after Sunday's shock; coalition imperiled

Tuesday, May 27th 2014 - 09:41 UTC
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Deputy PM Gilmore: “Labor has paid the price for taking responsibility of government during the worst economic crisis” Deputy PM Gilmore: “Labor has paid the price for taking responsibility of government during the worst economic crisis”
The vote could destabilize the ruling coalition led by PM Enda Kenny The vote could destabilize the ruling coalition led by PM Enda Kenny

Irish deputy prime minister Eamon Gilmore said on Monday he will quit as leader of the junior government Labor party, in a move that could destabilize the coalition and its austerity program following a major election setback.

Alongside Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Gilmore led Ireland out of an international bailout last year and there have been signs of economic recovery, but it is not being felt by large numbers of voters who hammered Labor in the elections at the weekend.

The collapse in support at local and European polls prompted eight members of Labor's parliamentary party, representing almost a fifth of the grouping, to submit a motion of no confidence in Gilmore's leadership.

“In 2011, following our most successful ever general election result, I asked the party to take on the responsibility of government during the worst economic crisis in the history of the state,” Gilmore told a hastily arranged news conference.

“It was a course which carried a high political risk, and Labor has paid the price for that. I believe that the work of renewing the party is best done under new leadership,” he said, adding he would step down once the party elects a successor.

The next leader, who will be chosen by colleagues in early July if more than one challenger emerges over the next two weeks, will also probably become deputy prime minister.

Three years ago, Labor went into government for the first time since the late 1990s on a promise to end the previous administration's adherence to “Frankfurt's Way”, an austerity plan the party said was dictated by the European Central Bank.

However the centre-left party angered supporters by pursuing the tough austerity required under the EU/IMF bailout and it captured just 7% of seats in the local polls, compared with 19% at parliamentary elections three years ago.

Kenny, who had a close relationship with Gilmore and whose party surprisingly slumped to second place in the local polls, needs the support of Labor to push through its final package of austerity cuts in October's budget.

Categories: Politics, International.

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  • darragh

    There's no such party in the RoI as the 'Labor Party', it's the 'Labour Party' with a 'u' - we are not Americans.

    May 27th, 2014 - 01:16 pm 0
  • redp0ll

    Seems there's a bit of Howlin going on in the Labour Party?
    I expected Enda would do worse. He's a good bloke

    May 27th, 2014 - 02:51 pm 0
  • walterlx

    Sinn Fein set to triple seats
    Taoiseach concedes shift in political landscape
    Despite the massive controversy over the arrest of Gerry Adams during the election campaign, Sinn Fein continues its march on the south and is on course to triple its council seats in the republic.
    Sinn Fein's rise has also fuelled predictions the party could enter a ruling coalition in Dublin after the next general election, probably in two years time.

    Mary Lou McDonald, the party's Dublin-born deputy leader who has been touted as a potential successor to Gerry Adams, said it would consider going into government.

    “I don't think it would be simply a numbers game,” she said.

    “It would be a matter of whether or not you could produce a programme for government that really changed things and delivered real results for people's lives. That would be the litmus test.”
    In Northern Ireland, counting has been suspended for today.

    So far, the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein have secured the lion's share on the new-look councils.

    While the DUP won the most seats with 130, the party's 23.1% share of the vote was down around 4% on the last local election poll in 2011.

    Sinn Fein came second in terms of seats with 105 but garnered the largest percentage of the overall vote.

    The republican party's 24.1% share of first preferences was down slightly on its 24.8% in 2011.

    May 27th, 2014 - 03:22 pm 0
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