The General Election and after
Southern Ireland has experienced a political earthquake. The two main conservative parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, between them received just 43% of the vote. In 2007, just before the Celtic Tiger crash, they got 69%. In 1982 the figure was 84.6%. Many now see Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael as identical twins who promote the same policies, looking after the rich and privileged. Fianna Fáil has been the dominant party in Irish politics since 1932. It occupied government office for longer than any other party in Europe, bar the Swedish Social Democrats. It received almost an equal number of votes from all social classes—about40-45%. It had active support bases amongst primary school teachers, taxi drivers, GAA officials and a wider membership of 70,000.