Published: Sun, February 09, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

General Election 2020 - Updates

General Election 2020 - Updates

The national exit poll shows support for Fianna Fail below expectations.

On Monday, Sinn Fein - the former political wing of the IRA paramilitary group - were out in front on 25 percent, with Fianna Fail on 23 percent and Fine Gael on 20 percent.

Left-wing Sinn Fein, which has moved on from the long leadership of Gerry Adams and is run by a new generation of politicians led by Mary Lou McDonald, could win the popular vote if the vote reflects the polls.

An Ipsos MRBI exit poll published by Ireland's state broadcaster RTE at 10pm shows FG, SF and FF in tie with statistically insignificant (a margin of error of 1.3 per cent) difference of 22.4, 22.3 and 22.2 per cent of the vote respectively.

The nationalist Sinn Fein party is unlikely to enter government, with opinion polls pointing to the main opposition Fianna Fail winning most seats and forming a coalition or minority government.

Count centers will begin sorting ballot papers from the estimated 3.3 million eligible voters at 0900 GMT.

Fianna Fail has ruled out going into coalition for the first time with Fine Gael and both parties say they will not govern with Sinn Fein, meaning there is no obvious government to be formed, he added.

The odds would still be stacked against Mary Lou McDonald leading the next government as taoiseach since Sinn Fein only fielded 42 candidates in the race for the Dail parliament's 160 seats.

"We just need a change in Ireland, it's very obvious", said Eilis Wall, a 40-year-old preschool owner who travelled 200 km (125 miles) to Dublin from the western county of Clare on Wednesday to join thousands of childcare workers calling for better state funding.

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Irish citizens went to the polls on Saturday to vote in the general elections.

No party is expected to reach the 80-seat threshold to enable it to govern on its own, with a coalition is nearly inevitable.

Since 2016, Fianna Fail has supported Fine Gael in the government with a trust and supply agreement that could involve them in the government's perceived failures. "So, I'm looking forward to see something positive".

The focus on domestic issues has overshadowed Varadkar's greatest success: protecting Irish interests during negotiations over Britain's departure from the European Union.

TDs are elected using the proportional representation system, with voters allocating their preferences in a single transferable vote.

Irish voters are choosing their next prime minister in an election where frustration with economic austerity and a housing crisis have fueled the rise of Sinn Fein - still shunned by the political establishment because of its links to the IRA.

If borne out, these results would represent a dramatic breakthrough for Sinn Fein south of the Irish border - challenging the 90-year duopoly of the Republic's two main parties.

But Brexit looks likely to nudge Northern Ireland's economy closer to that of its southern neighbor, and could yet increase pressure for a vote on unification.

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