The prospect of a transfer pact between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil in the next general election has emerged after a potentially flawed policy last time out was highlighted by one of the parties leaders.
Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar has told The Indo Daily podcast that they and Fianna Fáil could have landed more seats had their respective support bases transferred votes between each other’s party in the election of 2020.
Mr Varadkar said Fine Gael are to campaign as an independent party, but admitted to the popular pod that if the current coalition doesn’t collapse prematurely, then his party could “seek to continue with the current partners”.
“If this Government continues, if it gets its work done and if it doesn’t break up for some reason, and ends well, then I think that’s an option we’d be putting before the Irish people, that we would seek to continue with the current partners that we have in government.”
Sinn Fein’s obvious and sustaining popularity with voters has generally maintained despite a recent drop of three points but lying 13-points clear of Fine Gael and 17 clear of the struggling Fianna Fáil on 34% is clearing causing some distress in the corridors of powers, as evidenced by the latest remarks from Mr. Varadkar.
Fine Gael will aim to secure 25% of the vote in the next election according to Varadkar while he said he wouldn’t commit to remaining on as party leader if Fine Gael does not win more Dáil seats. Critically and definitively he reiterated that governing with Sinn Féin is a “line which we won’t cross”.
The Tanaiste’s scarcely concealed contempt for Sinn Féin was clear: “Oil and water doesn’t mix. It’s not just about the past, although those issues are important. It’s more about the future.”
He described Sinn Féin as “high-tax, anti-trade, anti-jobs” that’ll “wreck our economy, adding to the mix is what he perceived them to be a ”Eurosceptic party, populist and has “often sectarian” nationalist members.
“If Sinn Féin was in a position to lead a government, we’re going to need a strong democratic opposition party that’s able to hold them to account, restrain them, curb their excesses, replace them and clean up the mess, and I think cleaning up the mess could take 10 years.”