The prime minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar, has announced this Sunday that has already taken a decision on the date of the next general election, and will announce it next Tuesday, after convening his Council of Ministers. Most of the national media point to the 7th of February as the most likely date.
Varadkar, leader of Fine Gael, the formation of center-right alternating in power in the last few decades with his rival, Fianna Fail, has managed to stay in the post from 2016 in a minority Government. Unlike previous experiences, in which his party always sought the formation of coalitions with labor, was tested for the first time an alliance with external support with Fianna Gael. The pact was initially signed for three years, but the uncertainty caused by the Brexit, during the mandate in the Uk Theresa May, has convinced the two partners to extend up to 2020 its cooperation.
“I Always said that the elections should be held when out the best time for the country, and until now I have kept you in the belief that the best date was in the summer of 2020. But I must admit that the circumstances have changed,” said Varadkar on the public radio irish RTÉ. These circumstances, as explained by the own taoiseach (irish prime minister, in gaelic, modern, similar to the lehendakari, in basque), are basically the Brexit and the situation of political blockade suffered by Northern Ireland since three years ago. Varadkar forged with Boris Johnson's agreement to resolve the imbroglio of the backstop (safeguard irish that sought to prevent the establishment of a new border in the island), the question that eventually become a priority and almost unique to the Government of Dublin. And last Friday, in a joint effort by the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, it is achieved that unionists and republicans of Northern Ireland accepted the agreement New Decade, New Approach (New Decade, New Approach), to put an end to nearly 1,000 days in which the Assembly is Autonomous and the Government in northern ireland remained closed and the powers recovered by Westminster.
But those two reasons, weight obvious, are the official. The unofficial has more to do with the weakness of the covenant of the legislature that supported the Government of Varadkar. The Fianna Fail is committed to abstain in key votes of the irish Parliament to not obstruct the task of the Executive. In recent months, the rejection of several mps to keep that pledge has put at risk the fragile arithmetic of parliamentary and made impossible the task of Government.
The presentation of a motion of censure against the minister of Health, Simon Harris, in the midst of strong criticism for the deterioration of public health services, has increased the tension between the partners. The motion is scheduled for February 5, and the announcement of some opposition members of parliament that they think voting against the Government has made to Varadkar will not worth with the abstention of Fianna Fail. They claimed a vote of support for the Executive that so far have refused to grant. A defeat in the parliamentary of this caliber would be understood as the end of Government. Varadkar has announced this week a final approach with Michael Martin, leader of Fianna Fail, that few expect a result.Updated Date: 12 January 2020, 18:00