election time

the prize for coolest poster goes to...

We are in the midst of political upheaval here in Ireland! I wish I understood more about the political system but here is what's going on--as far as I can understand:
  1. Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen stepped down as party leader
  2. He had lunch with some friends who worked for failing bank AIB
  3. PM Cowen survived a parliament's 'vote of confidence' (impeachment?)
  4. Cowen is out, but will remain in power until a new government forms
  5. The parliament has been dissolved
  6. A general election will be held
  7. Nominations for the election just closed
  8. Election posters in Ireland are exponentially more attractive than in the US
Well I bet the internets can explain the basics of the setup: "The Houses of the Oireachtas (National Parliament) consists of the President and two Houses: Dáil Éireann (the House of Representatives) and Seanad Éireann (the Senate)." Ummm...ok.

What else can I possibly say? I know the President is a woman. I've been told she doesn't do much and that PM is the most powerful position in the country. I also hear that Irish people get to rank their votes and can vote for up to 4 candidates, who then receive a proportional percentage based on their ranking.

On Halloween two nice boys dressed as Dr. Who attempted to explain Ireland's political system to me in the pub. I guess it didn't stick...as a person who can't vote in this country, I am less inclined to listen to the political ruckus. What I do like? It seems people here are less combative. At my fake job, we talked politics in a civilized manner. People said what party they were voting for in the election without any confrontation or even the slightest uneasy feeling in the room. Just acceptance. That was certainly new to me!

I am trying to learn about the main political parties and what their platforms are. In the meantime, the election posters have gone up. From a purely aesthetic position, hubs and I have fallen in love with Mannix Flynn from the New Independent Party. Any candidate that takes a portrait straight out of the 1950s and combines it with a tomato red, avocado green, and turquoise color palette is fine by me. There is no patriotic blabber, no faux down-to-earth slogan, and no pretense; we merely see a face, a party, and a number one. Very clean, Mr. Fynn.

Irish vocab:
"Taoiseach" = prime minister in the Irish language, say tea-shock
"TD" or "Teachta Dála" = member of parliament, translated as Deputy to the Dáil
"giving out" to somebody = scolding or yelling at them for something
"down the pub" = down AT the pub