Published: Wed, January 15, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Irish premier expected to call for a general election on February 8th

Irish premier expected to call for a general election on February 8th

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar placed Brexit at the heart of his bid to retain power, as he set February 8 as the general election date.

Fine Gael lost all four special elections for vacant parliamentary seats in November, and the most recent opinion poll indicates Varadkar's party is running level with its closest rival, Fianna Fail, at about 27%. "In fact, it's only half-time", he said in a speech in front of government buildings.

"Brexit is not done yet", the prime minister said, adding that the next step is to negotiate a free trade agreement that "protects our jobs, our businesses, our rural communities".

Varadkar replaced Kenny as the party leader in 2017 and served since as the prime minister of the minority government his party led.

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He highlighted his success so far on Brexit, where a hard border between European Union member Ireland and British-ruled Northern Ireland was avoided, as well as his own high profile in a video posted on Twitter that began with clips of global broadcasters saying his name.

The election is widely predicted to hang on two major issues, health and housing, as the state continues to battle its worst ever housing crisis, and hospital overcrowding reached record-breaking levels past year.

Fine Gael's campaign slogan is "A Future For All", while Fianna Fáil is sticking with its 2016 slogan - "An Ireland For All". This time, the Greens and the Labor Party, are potential king makers.

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