Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Why can’t election manifestos be legally binding?

Posted by Jason O on Oct 28, 2012 in Irish Politics
They broke an election promise.

They broke an election promise.

Seriously, I’m not being smart here. Why not? Sure, I know why the parties don’t want them to be, but consider this:

1. Parties would have to be very careful about only putting in specific measures they are sure they can deliver on. If they can’t do that, are they really fit to be control of the country?

2. They already have the capacity to prepare them. FG/Labour had over 75 taxpayer funded researchers working for them in opposition (although apparently did not know that the number of TDs is decided by the constitution). They can’t research what is actually deliverable?

3. What about the coalition issue? Easy enough. Each party can issue a statement of intent, the usual guff about what they would like to do, and then the actual manifesto as to what they legally cannot give in on during coalition negotiations. Yeah, parties will probably have to discuss things before they legally unveil their manifestos? So what?

The only people to lose from this will be candidates who want to be able to make vague, broad and ultimately disappointing promises that breed cynicism about politicians. Why should we be accomodating to them? Wouldn’t we rather our elected leaders gave us a choice of small pledges that we know they’ll actually have to implement? 

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