Politics of Ireland takes place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic. The president is the head of state. The Prime Minister is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Oireachtas the bicameral national parliament, which consists of Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. While there are a number of important political parties, the political landscape is dominated by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, historically opposed and competing entities. The state is a member of the European Union.
Head of state
The head of state is the President of Ireland. In keeping with the state’s parliamentary system of government the President exercises a mainly ceremonial role but does possess certain reserve powers. The presidency is open to all Irish citizens who are at least 35. They are directly elected by secret ballot under the Alternative Vote also known as proportional representation. A candidate may be nominated for election as President by no less than 20 members of the Oireachtas or by four or more of the 29 County/County Borough Councils. A retiring President may nominate themselves as a candidate for re-election.
The parliament of the Republic of Ireland is the Oireachtas. The Oireachtas consists of the President and two houses: Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann (also known as the Senate). The Dáil is by far the dominant House of the legislature. The President may not veto bills passed by the Oireachtas, but may refer them to the Irish Supreme Court for a ruling on whether they comply with the constitution.
|Leinsterhouse - source|
The Republic of Ireland is a common law jurisdiction. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, the High Court and many lower courts established by law. Judges are appointed by the President after being nominated by the Government and can be removed from office only for misbehaviour or incapacity, and then only by resolution of both houses of the Oireachtas. The final court of appeal is the Supreme Court, which consists of the Chief Justice and seven other justices.
A number of political parties are represented in the Dáil and coalition governments are common. Neither of the two largest parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, strongly identifies itself as either a left or right-wing group. The third largest party in the state is the centre-left Labour Party. Labour is joined on the left by the Green Party and on the far-left by Sinn Féin and the Socialist Party. The Progressive Democrats who are classical neo-liberals with regard to economic policy but generally align themselves on the left on social issues. Independent TDs (MPs) also play an important role in Irish politics.
Head of state: Mary McAleese (FF) - President, Head of Government: Brian Cowen (FF) - Taoiseach, Governing party: FF, GP, PD
Last national elections 2007
Last European Parliament election June 2009 See: • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009_(Ireland) • http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/archive/elections2009/en/ireland_en.html