Angry Voters in Ireland Rout Ruling Party

Leaders associated with collapse, bailout are sent packing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2011 11:03 AM CST
Angry Voters in Ireland Rout Ruling Party
Ireland's Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, left, speaks to the media after casting his vote in Castlebar, Ireland, Friday, Feb. 25, 2011.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Irish voters have finally had enough of Fianna Fail, the long-dominating party blamed for leading the country into economic ruin, reports the Irish Independent. It's not clear whether opposition Fine Gael will get enough seats for an outright majority or will need to form a coalition government with a smaller party, but the message to Fianna Fail's leaders is clear: The party plunged to about 15% support in exit polls and may win 20 seats, down from the 78 it took in 2007, notes the Wall Street Journal.

"However bad people thought it would get for Fianna Fail, nobody thought it would get this bad," a professor at Trinity College tells AP. "That is highly significant." Fianna Fail ran the show when the Celtic Tiger economy boomed, then failed spectacularly when the housing bubble burst. Ireland had to accept an EU and IMF bailout with ultra-stringent conditions, and citizens are dealing with 13% unemployment and rising taxes. For a definitive look at the mess, see Michael Lewis' Vanity Fair piece. (More Ireland stories.)

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