Irish voters dismiss the relic of the two-party system

Irish voters dismiss the relic of the two-party system

The party took the biggest vote share but ran fewer candidates than Fianna Fail and Fine Gael - a miscalculation that could cost the party its chance to govern.

The left-wing Irish nationalist party stunned the establishment by beating the two centre-right parties that have led every government in the country's history, nearly doubling its vote share from the last election to 24.5 per cent.

Ailbhe Smyth, 73, a feminist political and academic activist who played a leading role in the campaign to repeal the ban on abortion in Ireland, said many felt the anguish of a crisis that had forced people to wait weeks or years to wait. some medical appointments, despite the government's generous spending on medical care.

Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O'Neill has said that the next Irish Government must begin to actively plan for Irish unity.

Fine Gael repeated its insistence on Monday while Fianna Fail said it saw significant hurdles to such a connection. "I think Ireland is no different".

Following its stunning election result, Sinn Fein is working to establish the viability of a left-wing coalition government in the Republic. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have never formed a coalition together.

The number of Sinn Fein's seats increased by 15 from 22 seats, while Green Party replaced Labour Party to be the fourth largest party in the Dail with 12 seats, up four-folds from the past.

Party president Mary Lou McDonald will meet the smaller parties and a range of independent TDS on Wednesday to see if she has the numbers to assemble a workable administration.

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Speaking on Tuesday, Sinn Fein TD and newly appointed head of the party's negotiations team Pearse Doherty said: "We have reached out to the Social Democrats, the Green Party, People Before Profit and Labour".

Mr O'Callaghan's views are not echoed by all his colleagues, with some Fianna Fail members having indicated a willingness to do business with the Sinn Fein.

This week Mr Martin predicted that forming a government with Ms McDonald would be "very challenging" and said there was "serious incompatibility between ourselves and Sinn Fein".

Fine Gael has strongly ruled out governing with Sinn Fein, citing policy differences and the nationalist party's role as the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Under her direction, Sinn Fein topped the first preference votes in Ireland's general election with 24.5 percent - a 10.7 percentage point boost from the leftist party's showing in 2016. She became the party's deputy leader in 2009 and in 2011 won a seat in the Irish parliament, representing Dublin Central.

As such, momentum is behind her in taking the first steps in what could be a long and tortuous process to form a new government.

Ms McDonald's party triumphed in the popular vote and may have won many more seats - potentially an additional 11 - if it had fielded more candidates in the landmark contest.

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