John Bruton - Leadership of Fine Gael

Leadership of Fine Gael

Whereas Dukes came from the social democratic wing of Fine Gael, Bruton came from the more conservative wing. However to the surprise of critics and of conservatives, in his first policy initiative he called for a referendum on a Constitutional amendment permitting the enactment of legislation allowing for divorce in Ireland.

Fine Gael had been in decline for nearly a decade; from the highpoint of the November 1982 general election when it achieved 70 seats in Dáil Éireann, only five seats short of Fianna Fáil's total the party had lost a considerable number of seats. Following the inexperienced Dukes' disastrous period of leadership, Bruton's election was seen as offering Fine Gael a chance to rebuild under a far more politically experienced leader. However Bruton's perceived right wing persona and his rural background was used against him by critics and particularly by the media.

By the 1992 general election, the anti-Fianna Fáil mood in the country produced a major swing to the opposition, but that support went to Labour, not Bruton's Fine Gael, which actually lost a further 10 seats. Due to deadlocked negotiations for government which stemmed in part from Labour Party's refusal to be part of a coalition which would include the liberal conservative Progressive Democrats and due to John Bruton ruling out Labour's preference for Democratic Left to be included in the government, the Labour Party chose to enter into a new coalition with Fianna Fáil. It was a humiliating blow to Bruton. Fine Gael, and Bruton personally, continued to perform poorly in opinion polls throughout 1993 and early 1994 and Bruton narrowly survived a challenge to his leadership in early 1994. However a couple of by-election victories, and a good performance in the 1994 European elections, coupled with a disastrous showing by the Labour Party, shored up his position. When in late 1994 the government collapsed, Bruton was able to form a government with the Labour Party and Democratic Left. Bruton faced charges of hypocrisy for agreeing to enter government with Democratic Left, as Fine Gael campaigned in the 1992 general election on a promise not to enter government with the party. Nevertheless, on 15 December, aged 47, Bruton became the then youngest ever Taoiseach. This was the first time in the history of the state that a new government was installed without a general election being held.

Read more about this topic:  John Bruton

Other articles related to "leadership of fine gael, fine gael, of fine gael":

Alan Dukes - Leadership of Fine Gael
... Fine Gael failed to win re-election in the 1987 general election, and lost 20 of their 70 seats, most to the new Progressive Democrats party ... down and Dukes was elected leader of Fine Gael ... and government services, and by attacking the cutbacks favoured by Fine Gael ...

Famous quotes containing the words leadership of, leadership and/or fine:

    The liberal wing of the feminist movement may have improved the lives of its middle- and upper-class constituency—indeed, 1992 was the Year of the White Middle Class Woman—but since the leadership of this faction of the feminist movement has singled out black men as the meta-enemy of women, these women represent one of the most serious threats to black male well-being since the Klan.
    Ishmael Reed (b. 1938)

    Nature, we are starting to realize, is every bit as important as nurture. Genetic influences, brain chemistry, and neurological development contribute strongly to who we are as children and what we become as adults. For example, tendencies to excessive worrying or timidity, leadership qualities, risk taking, obedience to authority, all appear to have a constitutional aspect.
    Stanley Turecki (20th century)

    When I have seen fine statues, and afterwards enter a public assembly, I understand well what he meant who said, “When I have been reading Homer, all men look like giants.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)