Feb. 9 (UPI) — Ireland’s Sinn Fein party will seek to form a coalition government after appearing to win the most votes in the country’s general election.
Party leader Mary Lou McDonald said Sunday that a “revolution” occurred in the election that saw her party on course to win 24 percent of the vote as she pledged to form a ruling coalition with other parties.
“This election has proven to be seismic,” she said. “It is historic. The two-party system in this state is now broken. People want a different politics and a different government.”
Exit polls on Saturday night predicted a three-way tie among Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, but Sinn Fein ultimately surged to gain a slim lead.
Centrist parties Fianna Fail and Fine Gael each earned 22 percent of the vote, while the Greens gathered 7 percent and it appears no party will have the 80 seats necessary to earn a majority.
Sinn Fein ran fewer candidates than Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, which are both expected to win more seats than Sinn Fein the Irish parliaments lower chamber.
“It’s almost impossible to work out what a possible government configuration could be,” Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said. “I think it will take weeks to work out.”
Sinn Fein said she had spoken to other parties in hops of forming a coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fail but said she would be open to a deal with either party.
Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar ruled out the possibility of forming a coalition with Sinn Fein.
“For us, coalition with Sinn Fein is not an option, but we are willing to talk to other parties,” he said.