At stake in this election:
- 166 seats in the House of Representatives (Dáil Éireann)
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: President Mary MCALEESE *
- Head of Government: Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Brian COWEN
- Assembly: Ireland has a bicameral Parliament (Oireachtas) consisting of the Senate (Seanad Éireann) with 60 seats and the House of Representatives (Dáil Éireann) with 166 seats.
* The presidential term is renewable once. The electoral system is alternative vote. The President is a member of Parliament ex officio.
Description of electoral system:
- The President is elected by a majority system with preferential vote to serve a 7-year term.
- The Prime Minister (Taoiseach) is appointed by the President.
- In the Senate (Seanad Éireann), 43 members are elected by indirect vote to serve 5-year terms, 11 members are appointed by the President to serve 5-year terms and 6 members are elected by indirect vote to serve 5-year terms*. In the House of Representatives (Dáil Éireann) 166 members are elected through a single transferable vote (STV) proportional representation system to serve 5-year terms.**
* 43 members are elected by five panels representing vocational interests. Six are elected by graduates of two colleges.
** One seat is reserved for the Speaker of the House. There are 43 multi-member districts with magnitudes from 3 to 5.
Main parties in the electoral race:
- Party: Soldiers of Destiny – The Republican Party / Fianna Fáil – An Páirtí Poblachtánach
- Leader: Micheál MARTIN
- Seats won in last House of Representatives election: 20
- Party: Family of the Irish / Fine Gael
- Leader: Enda KENNY
- Seats won in last House of Representatives election: 76
- Party: Labour Party / Páirtí an Lucht Oibre
- Leader: Eamon GILMORE
- Seats won in last House of Representatives election: 37
- Party: Green Party / Comhaontas Glas
- Leader: John GORMLEY
- Seats won in last House of Representatives election: 0
- Party: Sinn Féin
- Leader: Gerry ADAMS
- Seats won in last House of Representatives election: 14
Population and number of registered voters:
- Population: 4,576,794 (2011)
- Registered Voters: 3,209,177 (February 2011)
· Female Population: 2,295,988 (2011)
· Is Ireland a signatory to CEDAW: No
· Has Ireland ratified CEDAW: Yes, accession (23 December 1985)
· Gender Quota: Yes
· Female candidates in this election: N/A
· Number of Female Parliamentarians: 25 (House of Representatives); 18 (Senate) (following the 2011 elections)
· Human Development Index Position: 6 (2014)
· Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) Categorization: N/A
· Is Ireland a signatory to CRPD: Yes (30 March 2007)
· Has Ireland ratified CRPD: No
· Population with a disability: 686,519 (est.)