Ireland’s Fianna Fail is bracing for the worst election result since it was founded in 1926 after voters took out their anger on the party for a recession that led to spending cuts, tax increases and bank bailouts.
Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army, became the biggest party in Dublin city as voters punished the ruling coalition for three years of austerity amid a rise in protest votes across Europe.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen called an election for Feb. 25, two weeks earlier than he announced last month, after lawmakers accelerated passage of the budget to hasten the government’s probable ouster.
Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. wound up in Ireland because they could reduce their tax bills. Their success is leading European and U.S. politicians to label the country a tax haven that must change its ways.
Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s future may be played out in a corner of Ireland nicknamed the “forgotten county,” where voters will get the chance this week to show him that the country’s bailout has a political cost.