Monday, April 23, 2007

INSIDE POLITICS - ELECTION DATE

Mondays in Leinster House are as quiet as a country graveyard. Usually. Not this week. Already we're just a couple of hours into the week and the usual trickle of Monday-morning emails have turned into a torrent.

As has the weather. Labour launched its new advert campaign in driving rain. It's based around the theme of 'The First 100 Days'. This was originally an American concept. When there was a change in regime or administration, the acid test was how active they had been in fulfilling their promises in the first 100 days. The week before last, virtually every major American media organisation did the same for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, who gained control of the Upper House. (see Labour's 10 promises here).

If you parse this morning's papers, the story count for political stories is high. Two opinion polls were published yesterday. Expect them to become an almost daily occurrence between now and election day.

Both polls in the Sunday Indepedent and the Sunday Business Post give mildly good news for Fine Gael and show some slippage in Fianna Fail support.

Both polls have added to the slew of speculation around Leinster House about when the election will be held. With FF faltering a bit in the polls, there's a nervousness creeping into its backbenches, with a sense that most TDs want Bertie Ahern to call an early election.

The longer they go on, the more that malaise and uncertainty will creep in, they say. They are also worried about the potential damage that may be shipped by Fianna Fail and by Mr Ahern from the Quarryvale module of the Tribunal - Tom Gilmartin is due to give evidence this week.

Most think that it will be held on Thursday May 24. That would mean the election would be called next week. That would allow the passage of the Criminal Justice Bill and also allow Bertie Ahern to bask in the glow of Northern devolution.

I had a hunch that it would be held a week later, and that the reason that Ahern was holding it on a Thursday was to allow people get away for the June Bank Holiday weekend. Like a lot of my hunches, I think it's wrong.

1 comment:

Dan Sullivan said...

My hunch was that it would be the Friday before the bank holiday particularly the comments from the Taoiseach about people leaving Dublin for the weekend.

Now I'm inclined to believe that Bertie might try a sly one by calling the election on a Tuesday morning after everyone has travelled back to Dublin except for the FF TDs who will get the call on the QT the night before. I suspect he will allow the week go without calling the election, let the MRBI poll (especially if it is bad) and even the start of Quarryvale tire itself out over the weekend.