Saturday 10 December 2016

Stop endless speculation over elections - fix Dail terms

Allowing one person to decide when the rest of us vote is unfair, distracting and destablising, writes Dan O'Brien

Published 04/10/2015 | 02:30

FEVER PITCH: Election date hype was ratcheted up last week after Phil Hogan intimated to a group of visiting Fine Gaelers in Brussels that it’d be November
FEVER PITCH: Election date hype was ratcheted up last week after Phil Hogan intimated to a group of visiting Fine Gaelers in Brussels that it’d be November

That the sitting Taoiseach has the power to decide when elections are held is an unfair and extravagant privilege. The uncertainty it creates distracts from the substance of politics in favour of chattering speculation. And it exacerbates political instability, something which we may well be facing on a semi-permanent basis.

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The practice - inherited from the British but since abandoned by them - gives the Government of the day, or more precisely that largest party in the incumbent coalition, a very unfair advantage.

The power to call an election at the moment the sitting Taoiseach believes will be best for his party is very hard to justify, and if a political system was being designed from scratch the practice would almost certainly not be adopted.

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