Politics, Europe

Irish election: Fianna Fail wins most parliament seats

Sinn Fein wins 37 seats in historic result, one less than Micheal Martin's party, with Leo Varadkar’s party in third place

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal   | 11.02.2020
Irish election: Fianna Fail wins most parliament seats

LONDON

With counting completed in Ireland’s election held Saturday, Fianna Fail has won the most seats followed by Sinn Fein and Fine Gael.

Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail party has won 38 seats in the Dail (Irish parliament), a single vote more than Sinn Fein, which celebrated a historic success as they now have 37 seats compared with 14 in the 2016 election.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael party won 35 seats to finish third.

As the three parties have very close numbers of seats, long coalition talks will follow the election.

As Fine Gael has ruled out any coalition with Sinn Fein, who had links with the IRA terrorist group, Varadkar is unlikely to negotiate any coalition deal with Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald.

Martin, on the other hand, despite having ruled out any coalition government with Sinn Fein, said he could hold talks with McDonald in a U-turn.

The Green Party came in fourth after winning 12 seats. They are followed by the Labour Party and the Social Democrats Party, which both won six seats.

The Solidarity–People Before Profit party won five seats, the Aontu party one and independent candidates won 12 seats.

Varadkar, who became Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) after replacing Enda Kenny as Fine Gael leader and held a minority government, failed to secure enough seats in his first serious election contest.

A coalition government between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail is very unlikely as their origins lie on opposing sides of Ireland’s civil war that took place in 1922-1923.

McDonald described the election victory as a “revolution”.

“This is no longer a two-party system,” she said.

She said she would try to form a ruling coalition with other parties.

McDonald said she wants to attempt to become the next Taoiseach, leading a left-wing government with the Greens, Social Democrats and Solidarity–People Before Profit party.

Sinn Fein’s victory came with their pledges of changes to housing and healthcare, but support from voters also meant endorsement of their policy to form a united Ireland by integrating Northern Ireland – a U.K. region in the north of the island – into the Republic of Ireland.

Any leader who would lead coalition talks will need the support from a minimum of 80 parliament members to form a government.

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