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Irish general election, 1932

From Academic Kids

Template:Politics of the Republic of Ireland The Irish general election of 1932 was held on February 16, 1932, just over two weeks after the dissolution of the 6th Dáil on January 29. The newly elected 153 members of the 7th Dáil assembled at Leinster House on March 9, 1932 when the new President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State was appointed

The general election took place in 30 parliamentary constituencies throught the Republic of Ireland for 153 seats in the lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann. The 1932 General Election was one of the most important general elections held in Ireland in the 20th Century.

Contents

Cumann na nGaedhael

Cumann na nGaedhael fought the general election on its record of providing ten years of stable government. The party brought stability following the chaos of the civil war, and provided honest government. However, by 1932 this provision of solid government no lomger sufficed, particularly since the party had no solution to the collapse in trade which followed the depression of the early 1930s. Instead of offering new policies the party believed that its record in government would be enough to retain power. CnaG also played the "red card" tactic, describing Fianna Fáil as communists and likening Eamon de Valera to Stalin.

Fianna Fáil

In comparison to Cumann na nGaedhael, Fianna Fáil had an elaborate election programme, designed to appeal to a wide section of the electorate. It underplayed its republicanism to avoid alarm, but provided very popular social and economic policies. The party promised to free IRA prisoners, abolish the Oath of Allegiance and reduce the powers of the Governor-General and the Senate. It also promised the introduction of protectionist policies, industrial development, self-sufficiency and improvements in housing and social security benefits.

Election Campaign

The elction campaign was reasonably peaceful between the two ideologically opposed parties. However, during the campaign the government prosecuted de Valera's newly established newspaper, "Irish Press". The editor was also brought before a military tribunal. This was seen by many as a major blinder and a serious infringement on the belief of freedom of speech. The "red scare" tactics also seemed to backfire on the government, who had little elde to offer the electorate.

Results

The results were as follows:

Party Leader Seats First Preferences
# of Seats Gain/Loss % of Dáil # of Votes %
Fianna Fáil Eamon de Valera 72 +15 47.05   44.5
Cumann na nGaedhael William T. Cosgrave 57 -5 36.3   35.3
Labour Party Thomas Johnson 7 -6 4.57   7.7
Farmers' Party   4 -2 2.61    
Independents 13 -2 8.4    
  153   100.0    

When the results were known Fianna Fáil was still 5 seats short of an overall majority, but it still looked loke the only party capable of forming a government. Discussuins got underway immediately after the election and an agreement was reached in which the Labour Party would support Fianna Fáil. The party now had the necessary votes to form a government.

Transition of Power

March 9, 1932 saw the first change of government in the Irish Free State. Many in the country and abroad wondered if the true test of democracy would be passed. Would it be possible for the men who won a civil war only ten years before to hand over power to their opponents. Just like when the party entered the Dáil in 1927, a number of Fianna Fáil TDs had guns in their pockets. However, the expected coup d'état did not take place. William T. Cosgrave was determined to adhere to the principles of democracy that he had practised while in government. Likewise, the army, an Garda Síochána and the civil service all accepted the change of government. After a brief and uneventful meeting in the Dáil chamber, Eamon de Valera was elected President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State. Fianna Fáil, the party most closely identified with opposing the existence of the state ten years earlier, were now the party of government of taht state. Not only that but the 1932 General Election heralded in a sixteen year period in government for Fianna Fáil.

First Time TDs

See also


Irish General Elections

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