As counting continues in Ireland an exit poll is predicting heavy losses for the government in local elections and big gains for the main opposition parties.
The Fianna Fail party of Prime Minister Brian Cowen is predicted to get 24 percent of the vote, 10 points behind its main rival, Fine Gael. The exit poll is seen as an indicator of how the government will perform in the European elections, whose results will be announced tomorrow. A similar outcome in the European poll will put huge pressure on Cowen to stand down. Many in Ireland blame him and his party for the country’s deep economic woes. Much of Europe will be watching the performance of Libartas, the anti-Lisbon treaty movement founded by Declan Ganley. It was not expected to win any seats in Ireland, although it has candidates in several countries.