Irish Premier Kills Speculation of Early Election This Year

  • Enda Kenny says he intends to hold vote in Spring 2016
  • Current government coalition parties will campaign together

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he still plans to call an election early next year, killing speculation that he was preparing for a November vote after the government unveils as much as 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) of tax cuts and additional spending.

“I see no reason to change my mind; it is my intention to hold the election in Spring of 2016,” Kenny said in an interview with state-owned broadcaster RTE Radio, adding that the coalition Fine Gael and Labour parties will campaign together to be re-elected.

While national elections are due by early April, speculation intensified in the past week among Irish newspapers and broadcasters that Kenny would call an early vote next month. The talk prompted some senior Labour Party figures, including Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton, to publicly state their preference for an election next year. The government is planning on Oct. 13 to announce a second consecutive expansionary budget, rowing back on some of the 30 billion euros of austerity measures imposed during the financial crisis.

Support for the Fine Gael-Labour coalition is running at 38 percent, according to a Red C Research & Marketing Ltd. poll for the Sunday Business Post last month. While that’s an increase of 5 points from July, it’s almost a third lower than their combined standing in the 2011 election.

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