Ireland goes to the polls tomorrow for a general election set to be the country’s closest in years. Research suggests there’s been a last-minute surge in support for Bertie Ahern and his Fianna Fail party. Results in one major paper show support for them has gone up five points, to 41 percent, over the past 10 days.
The Prime Minister is hoping a thriving economy and peace in Northern Ireland will help him win a third term. But the campaign has also been overshadowed by suggestions of financial impropriety, which he has always denied. Ahern’s would-be successor is Enda Kenny of the Fine Gael party, which has aligned itself with the Labour party to try to unseat Ahern.
The opposition claims Fianna Fail and its junior coalition partner, the Progressive Democrats, have neglected basic state services. Both sides of the political spectrum still refuse to talk about linking up with Gerry Adams’ Sinn Fein because it is seen as the political ally of the IRA.
However, observers say if the results after Thursday’s polls are close, things could change as political horse-trading takes place with the aim of forming a coalition.