Irish voters are preparing to head to the polls to cast their ballot in the country’s national election. The ruling coalition is widely expected to suffer the first defeat for a Eurozone government since the onset of the debt crisis.
The ruling Fianna Fail party is expected to face defeat in Friday’s poll, as voters vent their anger over Ireland’s rapid decline into a debt-ridden disaster.
All opinion polls point to a new government led by Fine Gael, the second largest party in Ireland, which has traditionally been the perennial runner-up in elections.
Fine Gael is well ahead of other parties in being trusted to sort out public finances, create jobs and improve the health system. The Labour Party ranked second in each category.
The big question is whether Fine Gael will need a coalition partner, most likely the Labour Party.
Ireland was forced to accept a multi-billion-euro rescue deal from European neighbors and the International Monetary Fund.
The new government faces daunting tasks, including tightening fiscal management and tackling unemployment which hovers above 13 percent.
Karen Gibson, Dublin Resident, said, “No one has any money, you know, you work and work and work, and at the end of the day it’s getting taken back to pay what the politicians and banks have spent.”
Similar anger echoes across the country, and some observers predict this week’s vote has the potential for great change.
Peter Stapleton, President of Society of Chartered Surveyors, said, “Everybody’s working on far tighter margins, far tighter packages, the consumers are affected, the austerity measures are now in place. So we fully except that we have to re-gear our economy down to a lower, leaner level. So there is considerable pain for private individuals, consumers and all companies trying to do business.”
European banks have billions tied up in Ireland’s troubled financial sector.
The current government has guaranteed their money, but Fine Gael has said that it is unfair for taxpayers to be asked to make massive profits for speculators.
Fine Gael has raised the prospect of forcing some senior creditors to take a cut on their investments.
– CCTV NEWS