Ireland will be getting Greener, as that nation’s Green Party has agreed for the first time to join a coalition government. Fianna FÃ¡il, the party of current premier, Bertie Ahern, has agreed to introduce a carbon tax during the lifetime of the next parliament in exchange for the Greens’ entry into the coalition, while the Greens agreed not to use their government role to block Fianna FÃ¡il’s road-building plans or to stop Iraq-bound US military flights from using Shannon airport.
The coalition will also include the Progressive Democrats (PD). Fianna FÃ¡il and the PD have shared power in the outgoing government, but failed to win a majority of seats in the recent parliamentary election.
As Wilf Day pointed out in the earlier planting, under Ireland’s single transferable vote (STV) system, we know the patterns of vote transfers between candidates of various parties. It just so happens that Green votes were highly unlikely to transfer to Fianna FÃ¡il and more likely to go to the leading opposition party, Fine Gael. So, in terms of the connection between votes and executive-formation, assuming the coalition goes ahead, do we have here a systemic failure, or at least a mandate violation? The coalition agreement needs to be ratified by a two-thirds vote of the Green’s national conference today (which about 500 party members are expected to attend).
It is not yet known which or how many portfolios the Greens will get, but they are seeking Transport (which would put them in charge of implementing road projects that they campaigned against!) and Environment. The Greens would like to reorganize the ministries, combining parts of Energy and Environment to address global climate-change issues.
Ahern is also working on support deals with two independent members of parliament.
Update: The coalition is approved, with 86% of Green delegates to the conference approving, although the Greens party leader is stepping down to honor a previous pledge not to enter a coalition with Fianna FÃ¡il. Greens will have two portfolios (probably environment and energy, rather than transportation) and the PDs one. The Irish Times has more detail on the agreement, including its policy guidelines and the information that the Greens will also have two junior ministers. Thus four of its six legislators will have government posts. Meanwhile, the article also notes that Ahern continues to offer budgetary commitments so far up to “hundreds of millions of euros” with three non-party members (with a fourth possibly also to be signed up).