What could happen if Ireland goes back to the polls?

There’s talk of a fresh election in Ireland. What could happen in a new vote?

According to the BBC, there is a chance that Ireland could vote for the second time in just over a year. The opposition party Fianna Fail is planning to initiate a no confidence motion in the country’s deputy PM.

Ireland is currently a led by a minority administration made up of Fine Gael and led by Leo Varadkar. The government is currently supported by Fianna Fail in a confidence and supply arrangement, but all that could be coming to an end.

In the Irish Dail Eireann, there are 160 seats. Fine Gael hold 50, Fianna Fail 44, Sinn Fein 23 and Labour 7. The rest are held by a mix of smaller parties and independents. The country uses the Single Transferable Voting System, which makes seats roughly reflect votes and allows for a diverse Dail.

What do the polls say?

If Ireland holds another vote, polling suggests that the main two parties would be the main beneficiaries. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail respectively won 25.5% and 24.3% of the vote in 2016.

Recent polling indicates that the two parties are currently significantly more popular than they were in February 2016, with the latest Behaviour and Attitudes/The Sunday Times poll putting Fine Gael on 34% and Fianna Fail on 31%.

If recent polls are anything to go by, a new election would likely strengthen the country’s main two parties.

What do the betting markets say?

According to PaddyPower (as of 23rd November), the odds of a new election being held this year are pretty long (10/1) although it is worth remembering that November is coming to an end. Meanwhile, the odds of one being held in 2018 are 1/14, suggesting that an Irish election could be just around the corner.

As for the outcome, the same firm offers odds of 4/5 for Fine Gael winning the most seats while also offering evens for a Fianna Fail plurality.

In both the polls and the markets, Fine Gael have the edge, but only just.

A new campaign could make all the difference.