Ireland is a parliamentary, representative democratic republic and a member state of the European Union. While the head of state is the popularly elected President of Ireland, it is a largely ceremonial position, with real political power being vested in the Taoiseach, who is nominated by the Dáil and is the head of the government.
Executive power is exercised by the government, which consists of no more than 15 cabinet ministers, inclusive of the Taoiseach and Tánaiste (the deputy head of government). Legislative power is vested in the Oireachtas, the bicameral national parliament, which consists of Dáil Éireann, Seanad Éireann and the President of Ireland. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The head of the judiciary is the Chief Justice, who presides over the Supreme Court.
Ireland has a multi-party system. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, historically opposed and competing entities, which both occupy the traditional centre ground, trace their roots to the