Ireland's General Elections A look-back at previous general elections, how they came about, the winners and the losers Thu 8 Oct 2015 Taoiseach declines to rule out November election As election fever starts to take hold here is a look back at our most recent general elections. Feb 2nd, 2011: A general election is announced for February 25th following the dissolution of the 30th Dáil by President McAleese on the advice of Taoiseach Brian Cowen. Mr Cowen, who was not standing again in the Laois-Offaly constituency, was to remain as Taoiseach until a replacement was elected by the new Dáil. Feb 25th, 2011: Voters go to the polls in an election that many expected would change the face of Irish politics. More than three million people are entitled to vote in 43 constituencies being contested by a record 566 candidates. Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny makes a final appeal to voters urging them to turn their anger against the current administration into action when they vote. He said the country was living with a national heartbreak as it reeled from the “national confidence trick” pulled on it by the Government and those to whom it had ceded power, the developers and banks. Fianna Fáil suffers the greatest losses seen by any governing party since the establishment of the State. Losing 57 seats the country’s once dominant party is reduced to just 20 seats, equalling Labour’s tally in the previous election. Fine Gael emerged as the biggest party in the state with 76 seats (+25); Labour won 37 (+17); Sinn Féin won 14 seats (+10) . Others (inc Ind) won 19 seats (+14). FG leader Enda Kenny contacts his Labour Party counterpart Pat Gilmore to open negotiations on agreeing the basis for a coalition government. Notable losses: Pat Carey (Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs); Mary Coughlan (Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills); Mary Hanafin (Minister for Tourism and Sport); John O’Donoghue (Ceann Comhairle); John Gormley (Minister for the Environment); Eamon Ryan (Minister for Communications) April 30th, 2007: Speaking after he went to Áras an Uachtaráin to get the President’s signature on an order for the dissolution of the 29th Dáil, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says voters have a ‘real choice’ between 'two very different alternatives’ in the election. “No one knows what the outcome of this election will be. The people have a real choice and two very different alternatives before them. That choice will frame Ireland’s future, and the consequences of this election will be felt for many years to come,” he said. May 24th, 2007: Voters go to the polls in one of the most hotly-contested and unpredictable elections in years. Ahead of the poll, opposition parties raised the spectre of a Fianna Fáil-Sinn Féin coalition. Mr Ahern said: “We can’t prevent them going in supporting the taoiseach, but we will not enter into any coalition arrangement, understanding, or behind-closed-doors deal with Sinn Féin in relation to their support for any issue,” he said. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is in a position to form his third successive government after an impressive performance by Fianna Fáil that saw the party come close to holding the same number of seats it won in the previous election. Progressive Democrats leader Michael McDowell announces he is quitting political life following his defeat in Dublin South East. The PDs survive the election with just two TDs. Results: FF 77 (-4); FG 51 (+20); Labour 20 (+0); Sinn Féin 4 (-1); PDs 2 (-6). Notable losses: Michael McDowell, Joe Higgins, Liz O’Donnell and Tom Parlon April 25, 2002: Taoiseach Bertie Ahern visits Aras an Uachtarain at 9am to request that the President, Mrs McAleese, dissolve the 28th Dail, marking the end of the longest-serving Dáil in peacetime. The manner of Mr Ahern’s announcement did not go down well with some. “It is without precedent for a Taoiseach to come in to a virtually empty chamber and make an announcement dissolving the Dáil without the courtesy of notifying Opposition leaders that such a statement of such importance was to be made. It marks a shoddy end to a shoddy government ," said Labour Party leader Ruairi Quinn. May 17th, 2002: Voters go to the polls in one of the most hotly-contested and unpredictable elections in memory. A total of 466 candidates stand for election to the 30th Dáil in 43 constituencies. On the eve of the election, The Irish Times reported that the leaders of the alternative coalition, Enda Kenny and Pat Rabbitte, maintained that Fianna Fáil would be supported in office by Sinn Féin if there was a hung Dáil. May 2002: The election was considered a success for Fianna Fáil who won 81 seats (+8); Fine Gael experienced a meltdown in support dropping from 54 to 31 seats, and losing all but three seats in Dublin. Notable losses: Jim Mitchell (FG Deputy leader); Nora Owen (FG – former Minister of State); Derek McDowell (Lab); Alan Shatter (FG); Dick Spring (Lab, former leader of Labour Party). May 15th, 1997: Taoiseach John Bruton tells a packed Dail at 11.45am he was proceeding immediately to Aras an Uachtarain to seek a dissolution from the President Mary Robinson. The election was to be held on June 6th. The day after the dissolution of the Dail, The Irish Times reports on a leaked plan by Fine Gael for a €1.5 billion package of tax cuts. The electorate would face a choice between the incumbent Rainbow Coalition of Fine Gael, Labour and the Democratic left and a possible coalition between Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats. June 6th, 1997: The Republic's 2.7 million-plus eligible voters go to the polls in the 41 constituencies where polling stations are open for two hour longer than in previous years, opening at 8am and closing at 10pm. The night before Taoiseach John Bruton appealed to voters to support the Rainbow Coalition on the grounds of stability and policies. Fianna Fáil’s Bertie Ahern, however, asked voters to support his party first and continue their preferences to the Progressive Democrats. Mr Ahern, appealed to party workers to "do everything in their power" to bring out their full support. Fianna Fáil leader Bertie Ahern is set to form a coaliltion Government with the Progressive Democrats. The combined strength of the parties — at 81 seats— was still two below the minimum of the 83 needed to secure a majority in the Dáil and they would still need the support of two Independent TDs. The Green Party’s John Gormley was elected in Dublin South East by a margin of 30 votes after a four-day recount that saw Progressive Democrat Michael McDowell lose out. The Labour party vote collapsed and leader Dick Spring would later retire as leader. November 5th, 1992: the Fianna Fáil-Progressive Democrat Government collapses and Taoiseach Albert Reynolds embarks on a 20-day general election campaign head of a November 25th vote. Ireland will vote on three separate abortion referendums on the same day, dealing with the right to travel , the right to information and the-provision of limited abortion in the Republic. November 25th, 1992: As the campaigns draws to a close ahead of the Wednesday, November 25th election, the Labour Party’s director of elections Barry Desmond accuses Fianna Fail of engaging in "lies and distortions " in an effort to stay in power and of employing the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi to run a negative campaign of the kind that had proved successful for the British Tory Party. Labour circulates 250,000 leaflets in Dublin and takes out advertisements in newspapers assuring the public that it has no intention of introducing a range of new taxes. January 12th, 1993: As much of the country is hit by snow and ice, the temperature finally thaws in political circles and Fianna Fail and Labour form a coalition government under the leadership of Albert Reynolds of Fianna Fail and Dick Spring of Labour. That party had a very successful election which was dubbed the "Spring Tide". Bertie Ahern is appointed as minister for finance. Protracted talks on forming a government between Fine Gael and Labour had collapsed before Christmas.