Irish voters frustrated by economy choose next leader

Sinn Fein won 22.3 per cent, according to the Ipsos/MRBI poll of 5,000 voters, commissioned by RTE and the Irish Times, putting it line for its best-ever performance.

Both would fall well short of a majority of seats on such a share of the vote.

An Irish Times / Ipsos MRBI poll released this week found Sinn Fein to top the top at 25 percent, followed by FIanna Fail at 23 percent and Fine Gael at 20 percent.

Sinn Fein has moved on from the long leadership of Gerry Adams, the face of the IRA's war against British rule in Northern Ireland - a conflict in which some 3,600 people were killed before a 1998 peace deal. "It's something of a revolution in the ballot box".

Ireland's election is hanging in the balance after a surge in Sinn Fein's support upended the nation's traditional two-party power structure, and attention began to turn to government formation.

"All those big issues that came up during the election, we said we would have a different approach, and we have a different approach than the main political parties, the establishment parties". "It's dramatic for the simple reason that we've gone from a two party system to a three party system".

Fianna Fail finance spokesman Michael McGrath claimed Sinn Fein's tax policies will leave Ireland a "cold place" for businesses.

Sinn Fein, under leader Mary Lou McDonald, has just 42 candidates - 80 seats are needed for a majority in the 160-seat Parliament.

Sinn Fein said it was ready to talk - to everyone but the two major parties - about forming a government.

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"We can not care about those kinds of things", said the Swede, who was selected as Time's Person of the Year for 2019. He graduated with a bachelors degree which he confirmed for the first time Thursday was in economics.

If the exit poll is accurate, the outcome will pose a major conundrum for FF/FG, which have both vowed never to enter a coalition with SF, citing its historic ties with the IRA - but who will also be reluctant to give up power.

There's "significant incompatibility" between his party and Sinn Fein, Martin said, although accepting an "obligation" to find a functioning government.

Some 3.3 million people have the right to vote to elect 159 members of the Dail, the lower house of Parliament in Dublin. No sitting Prime Minister has ever come second in his own riding.

Fine Gael business minister Heather Humphreys has said it was not a mistake for her party to put Brexit at the centre of its re-election strategy. I want us to have ideally a government with no Fianna Fail or Fine Gael in it. Varadkar acknowledged he understood that on Friday. "But if he comes out, gets justice for Paul, and tells the Gardai and PSNI the names of the people he spoke to, and we see the people who murdered Paul up in court and in jail, then Conor Murphy will be entitled to stay in his position".

"I'm pretty sure Sinn Fein don't want to go into government yet", said O'Malley.

Smaller parties such as the Greens, Labour, the Social Democrats and Solidarity/People Before Profit - and a sizeable number of independent TDs - may all be courted as the main parties seek junior coalition partners.

The question now is whether any of the three parties can form a stable government.

"That there appears to be no party large enough to command the support for a majority government will face the Irish electorate with the choice between another, potentially inconclusive election, or a coalition government between a centre-Right party, heavily leaning on worldwide banking and foreign direct investment from US, and a hard-Left party, with a less than transparent relationship with its violent past, and whose economic and social policy influences are those of Venezuela and Cuba". Mr. Varadkar stuck to that line on Sunday but Mr. Martin left the door open.

  • Sonia Alvarado