THE BLOG

Irish Election Date Means End of Europe's Most Successful Political Party

After a day of complete chaos in the Irish parliament Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has called an Irish election for March 11, and in the process sealed the fate of his party, Fianna Fail (Feena Fawl).

The party is likely to be wiped out in the election. Latest opinion polls show them at 14 percent, down from 44 percent in the 2007 election.

They will likely fall to under 20 seats from the 77 they held after the last election. For a party that has been in power 22 of the last 24 years, it is an incredible collapse.

Fianna Fail has no equivalent anywhere in the world, in terms of their ability to hold on to power.

Since its inception in 1927, it has dominated Irish politics, but incredibly, now may be wiped out in one election.

The wheels finally came off when six of Brian Cowen's ministers resigned over the last 48 hours and Cowen found himself unable to replace them after his minority partner in power, the Greens, vetoed any such move.

Cowen's preference was to kick the election down the road, name new ministers and hope for the best, but now his bluff has been called. The Greens finally discovered their cojones and demanded an election date.

Fianna Fail will pay the price for the extraordinary economic collapse in Ireland.

The party collapse will be the legacy of the Wild West era since 2000, when developers and bankers aided by a cozy relationship with government politicians plundered the Irish economy, building ghost housing estates all over Ireland and granting massive loans to insiders.

No oversight of banks, no oversight of property speculation, no ability to read that the Celtic Tiger was about to crash has doomed the party.

The IMF eventually were called in to rescue Ireland, but left the Irish taxpayer saddled with $100 billion in debts from bad banks and toxic real estate deals.

The hatred and resentment against Fianna Fail is incredible to witness, which is why the ministers resigned knowing they could not get re-elected.

Now comes the comeuppance, the moment when Europe's most successful political party is brought to its knees.

After March 11, the Irish political landscape will never be the same again.