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Tuesday, 16 February 2016


16‭ ‬February1932:‭ ‬A General Election held in the Irish Free State on this day.‭ ‬The president of the Executive Council,‭ ‬W.T.‭ ‬Cosgrave,‭ ‬[above top] called the election early as he wished to have it out of the way in time for the Commonwealth Conference of that year.‭ ‬There was growing unrest in the country and he felt that a fresh mandate was needed.‭ ‬He fought the campaign on a programme of bringing political stability to the State and that a change of Government would see people sympathetic to republicanism and communism in power.

Eamon De Valera [above below] on the other hand promised to free IRA prisoners,‭ ‬abolish the Oath to the King of England and to reduce the powers of the Governor General.‭ ‬He also indicated that more equitable social policies would be introduced at a time when the Great Depression was in full swing.

In the event there was a change of Government and Eamon de Valera won the contest.‭ ‬Fianna Fáil received‭ ‬566,498‭ ‬votes and won‭ ‬72‭ ‬seats as opposed to Cosgrave’s‭ ‬Cumann‭ ‬na‭ ‬nGaedhael,‭ ‬which got‭ ‬449,506‭ ‬votes and secured‭ ‬57‭ ‬seats.‭ ‬The Labour Party returned with just‭ ‬7‭ ‬seats on a vote from‭ ‬98,286‭ ‬of the electorate.‭ ‬While De Valera was still five seats short of an overall majority,‭ ‬he struck an informal deal with the Labour Party to back him up.‭ ‬On that basis he was able to govern the Free State with a fair deal of parliamentary political stability over the next few years.

This change of government marked a watershed in the history of the State as De Valera went on to abolish the Oath to the King of England and to give the polity a much more Republican flavour including a new Constitution some years later.‭ ‬He remained in power through an unbroken series of election victories until‭ ‬1948.