Irish PM Varadkar set to quit as parliament returns

22 Février, 2020, 02:25 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Independent TDs for Kerry Michael Healy Rae and Danny Healy-Rae speak outside Leinster House in Dublin after meeting with Sinn Fein as efforts continue to form a Government. PA

The parliament will try and nearly certainly fail to elect a new prime minister from the main party leaders later on Thursday, after which Varadkar will assume the role on a caretaker basis.

Fianna Fail will step up efforts to form a new government during an expected two-week recess, acknowledging some kind of tie up with historical rival Fine Gael will ultimately be the only way to avoid a second election Sinn Fein may relish.

Lawmakers will return to the Dublin parliament for the first time since the populist nationalist Sinn Fein upended the nation's traditional power structure in the February 8 general election.

Varadkar said he would stay on as caretaker leader after he tenders his resignation to Irish President Michael D. Higgins.

Thursday's session opened with the election of a speaker, followed by parties nominating their candidates for Taoiseach, or prime minister.

Earlier in the month, Sinn Fein managed to attract a historic level of support in the general election by campaigning on a platform to address problems with housing affordability and issues with the healthcare system.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein said Wednesday it was "intensifying" negotiations with smaller parties and independents seeking "a government for change". Coalition talks will begin in earnest after Thursday's vote - in 2016, it took almost three months to form a government after the election.

Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs Paul Murphy Richard Boyd Barrett and Mick Barry speak to media outside Leinster House in Dublin as government formation talks intensify

The IRA fought British rule in Northern Ireland for decades until the late 1990s, when a peace agreement largely ended violence that left more than 3,000 dead on all sides.

Deputy Joe carey is commenting after the leaders of both his party and Fianna Fail agreed to meet next week for exploratory talks.

The leaders of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil spoke over the phone last night, after the first sitting of the 33rd Dáil failed to elect a Taoiseach.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald received the most votes backing her.

At least three parties will be needed to form a majority government in the Dail.

Varadkar told state broadcaster RTE on Monday he was prepared to go into opposition. Fianna Fáil is facing the possibility of having to enter a "grand coalition" with fellow centrist Fine Gael and the Green Party, after ruling out partnership with Sinn Féin, as did Fine Gael.

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