Coalition politics of necessity can make liars of everyone…

Nice story from Noel Whelan pointing out that whatever parties say now about what their position will be after the next election, complicated electoral mathematics will exert its own power when the time comes…

Labour spent the first two weeks after the 1992 election teasing out coalition prospects with the other parties. When these efforts did not go well Spring met Reynolds for exploratory talks on December 13th, 1992.

On December 14th, the Dáil met for the first time after the election. Reynolds, John Bruton and Spring were each nominated for taoiseach and were defeated and the Dáil adjourned.After a month of negotiations a new Fianna Fail-Labour government was formed on January 12th, 1993, 48 days after the election.

When the current Dáil is dissolved and a date is set for a general election the law requires that a date must also be set for the first meeting of the next Dáil.

There is no guarantee, however, that a new government will be elected on that day.

A lot can happen in the weeks after an election. Firm pledges not to go into government made before polling day are often cast aside after it. Old animosities and even recent antagonisms are quickly overcome. The country needs a government. Nothing concentrates the minds of politicians like the fear of a further election.

Next year will be no different.

Except that it probably will be different in ways that are currently hard to anticipate…

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