Sinn Féin Wins Votes and Surprises Ireland
The way a political party usually gets a surprising surge is when the mainstream party or parties fail to produce any significant result in quite some time. It would appear that something like this has happened in Ireland during the general election. Sinn Féin came from the underdog position and took nearly a quarter of all votes.
What Is Sinn Féin?
Sinn Féin is one of the oldest political parties in Ireland. It is currently active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as a center-left to left-wing party. It was founded in 1905, but, during the course of recent history, it got repeatedly split up into factions, which gave rise to the ‘mainstream parties’ of Irish politics – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.
Sinn Féin is a party of democratic socialism that stands for unifying Ireland. One of the controversial things about the party is that it was once affiliated with the IRA.
In Ireland’s national election in February, Sinn Féin walked away with 24.53%, whereas Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael won 22.18% and 20.86%, respectively. The Irish media named the victory historic, while the party itself is now demanding the right to be involved in forming the government. Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of the Sinn Féin was jubilant and declared that Ireland was no longer a two-party system.
Prior to the victory, both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil declined to form a coalition with Sinn Féin. However, after the results, the parties may consider this unlikely alliance. Ever since 2018 when McDonald took the helm, the party switched its platform and goals towards social-democratic policies.
Why Did Sinn Féin Win?
While it is hard to pinpoint the exact reason, many believe this has a lot to do with the dissatisfaction young people feel regarding the mainstream political parties. That, paired with a rise in nationalism and separatism in many western countries could be the reason why the new generation is eager to see some change.
Ireland is just one of many countries where the political winds are shifting.
Will Sinn Féin Be the Government?
This is not yet certain, as aligning the party with smaller left-wing parties will likely not yield enough seats. This is why, if a ruling coalition is to be formed, it is to be done with another major party, which could very well be Fianna Fáil.
If the three parties do not come to an understanding, there is probably going to be a do-over regarding the elections. However, there is an undeniable rise in nationalism and separatist policies that could prove to be the undoing of the traditional political systems.