Parliamentary Chamber: Dáil Éireann


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  Dáil Éireann

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  15 June 1989

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats of the House of Representatives (Dáil Eireann) following the premature dissolution of this body on 25 May 1989. Dáil elections were previously held in February 1987.

Background and outcome of elections:

  Ending weeks of speculation, Prime Minister Charles Haughey (Fianna Fáil) announced the date of the premature general elections on 25 May 1989. Observers interpreted this decision as an attempt to take advantage of the ruling party's high standing in opinion polls and to secure a working majority in the Dáil. It was also believed to have been prompted by negative forecasts in the economic sector.

During the three-week campaign, the opposition parties, led by centre-right Fine Gael, judged the calling of the election unnecessary and opportunistic. They moreover concentrated on exploiting hardships caused by the Government's health services reform – part of the economic austerity programme which entailed a reduction of public spending. Mr. Haughey countered by pointing to his party's consequent positive achievements (lower inflation, interest rates, deficit). Fine Gael leader Alan Dukes emphasized the need for a redistribution of the tax burden to combat high levels of unemployment and emigration.

On polling day, centre-right Fianna Fáil (Soldiers of Destiny) failed to obtain the absolute Dáil majority it sought for the fourth straight time, and the overall outcome was generally deemed indecisive. In this context, Mr. Haughey was again elected Prime Minister on 12 July after forming a coalition with the Progressive Democrats party.

Round no 1 (15 June 1989): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 2,448,810
Voters 1,677,592 (68.5%)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 20,779
Valid votes 1,656,813

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group %
Fianna Fáil 43.7
Fine Gael 29.6
Labour Party 8.0
Workers' Party 5.6
Progressive Democrats 5.0
Others 8.2

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total Gain/Loss
Fianna Fáil 77 -4
Fine Gael 55 +4
Labour Party 15 +3
Workers' Party 7 +3
Progressive Democrats 6 -8
Others 6 +2

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 153
Women: 13

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Copyright © 1989 Inter-Parliamentary Union