Dan O’Brien notes that with a steadily diversifying electorate Ireland would do well to follow the UK and opt for fixed term parliaments:
We could very well be in for a descent into Italian-style politics, with administrations being short lived over the longer term.
One way to lessen the destabilising effect of more diverse Dails would be to make it harder for their participants to cut and run to the electorate. Here is where the fixed-term Dail would be beneficial.
When Britain shifted to fixed terms, the act that brought the change into force included a stipulation that to bring a government down, two-thirds of MPs, rather than a simple majority, would have to vote to dissolve parliament.
If something similar was introduced here, it would allow a government to be defeated on a specific piece of legislation without precipitating an election. If we are headed for much more diverse Dails without any party being close to a majority, doing as the British have done could at least mean we are not condemned to a big increase in the frequency of elections, with all the downsides that that would entail.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty