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Max Doyle: Short View

AN adverse range of emotions were no doubt felt by people on Friday after they voted. Aside from having the privilege to vote, some voted in anger, others with enthusiasm and some downright vengefully.

If voters thought that this election was going to be a cathartic or purgative episode with a kind of fiscal line in the sand, they may be disappointed.

Voting is about choice and for a country in great need of imagination, vision and resoluteness, the choices on Friday were grim -- Hobson himself would have struggled.

For some voters it was a catch 22 scenario with no manifesto capable of dealing with the big holes in our finance. For the loyal Fianna Fail voters who still came out -- some say suffering from Stockholm Syndrome -- their choice was the hardest.

Let's hope that the new government takes its office in the spirit in which it was given, not as a resounding endorsement of its policies, but rather on a trial basis as the best of a very bad lot.

Turning to the Gulf states of the Middle East -- where there are few voters, the next big issue to test nerves could be the succession of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Bearing in mind that the country holds a quarter of the world's oil reserves and is a monarchy where the Koran is the constitution, any further instability will completely threaten world markets and could drive oil back towards its highs of $140 of July 2008.

As the king grows more frail, the Saudi government have for now chosen the carrot rather than the stick by pumping about $10bn into social spending.

As we now know in Ireland, reducing social expenditure is very difficult for the incumbent power -- so don't expect the price of oil to drop anytime soon. Perhaps we should start thinking of it as a global stability tax.

Max Doyle is a principal of Prime Focus Management specialising in investment and turnaround of Irish companies

Sunday Indo Business