Defeated Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says he will “take a step back” and have Sinn fein form a coalition
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has admitted the defeat following last week’s general election and has called on Sinn Fein to act and try to form a government.
While the coalition talks are still ongoing, the Taoiseach admitted on Wednesday that “at the end of the process [likely] be the leader of the opposition. “
Speaking outside of Dublin Castle, he said that Sinn Fein had earned the right to lead the next parliament after winning the most first preference votes in last week’s vote.
Leo Varadkar has admitted defeat in the general election in Ireland – admitted that he is likely to be the leader of the opposition once the coalition talks are over
But he warned that they had made “many promises to many people” during the campaign and now had to keep.
The Republican party, shunned in the past about its ties with the IRA, missed Ireland’s largest party with only one seat after back-up preferences were taken into account.
Meanwhile, Varadkar’s Fine Gael suffered its second worst defeat in history under its leadership.
In summary, he said: “I see that the situation Sinn Fein emerged as the largest party, at least in terms of voting in these elections.
‘They won it marginally and did so by making many promises to many people in this country.
‘The responsibility lies with them to build a coalition, to negotiate a socialist government program that keeps their promises and seeks a Dail majority for it.
“We are willing to take a step back and let them do that.”
He said that Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald has not yet reached him after a historic victory for her party.
Mr Varadkar added: ‘We have been defeated in this election, there is no point in trying to dress it up anyway.
“It was a tight finish, but we were defeated, so that means that people are telling us that Fine Gael must go into opposition and we are absolutely prepared to do that.”
He added that he would like to lead his party into opposition, saying that he wants to reform and modernize Fine Gael – a task he was too busy for in the government.
Varadkar said it was up to Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald (center) to try to form a government, but warned that she had made “many promises” that now need to be kept
“I enjoy the opportunity to do that,” he said.
While all coalition talks are taking place behind closed doors, Ms. McDonald said earlier that her goal would be to form a left-wing coalition without Fine Gael or Fianna Fail – the party that brought them to the most seats.
Sinn Fein should get the support of the Greens, Labor, Social Democrats and Solidarity / People Before Profit and a series of independent TDs to form such a board.
If that proves impossible, the government can be the only useful alternative to Fianna Fail.
Asked about the prospect of a “super coalition” of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and possibly the Greens, Mr. Varadkar said he had not taken part in such talks.
But he said he would be willing to talk to rival political leaders if it was necessary to “give the country political stability.”
After meeting Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, Ms. McDonald described the exchanges as “useful and constructive.”
“I have made it clear since the elections – and afterwards – that I will speak with all parties in the interest of forming a government; starting with people with a mandate for change, “she said.
“The Green Party, which has considerably increased its mandate, is undoubtedly one of those parties.”
McDonald tries to form a left-wing coalition of smaller parties, including the Greens (photo by leader Eamon Ryan)
If McDonald did not reach 80 seats, she could theoretically form a minority government.
However, that would require an agreement with Fianna Fail or Fine Gael, through a form of trust and supply arrangement, which would prevent them from voting on the main votes of the opposition banks.
Solidarity / People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said that an Irish government led by Sinn Fein may not last long, but that it can still make progress on major domestic issues.
“It would not be very long, but I still think it is worth investigating whether we can do something to address the housing crisis as a matter of urgency, some health care issues with desperate waiting lists, some climate change issues and the cost of living, “he told RTE Radio One.
“I think that anything that could express and express the sentiment that people expressed during the elections during the elections is worth exploring and I am absolutely keen to do that and People Before Profit wants to try to do that. “
Many believe that it will be impossible to form a government without the involvement of one of Fianna Fail or Fine Gael, the two old big beasts of Irish politics.
A coalition of Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and the Green Party – which ended with 12 seats – is seen as a potentially more realistic option. However, that would mean that Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin would turn his promise to never do business with Sinn Fein.
Another permutation could see the exclusion of Sinn Fein, with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail coming to power together with another smaller party or group – a so-called “super coalition.”
Fianna Fail might also try to form a minority government with several smaller parties – a government that would require a trust agreement with Fine Gael on the opposition banks.
That would reverse the historic pact that was signed in 2016, in which Fianna Fail, as the main opposition party, held the last Fine Gael-led minority government in power.
With so much uncertainty about the composition of the next government, a new general election cannot be excluded.
Varadkar said he was not approached to form a “super coalition” between his Fine Gael party and rivals Fianna Fail, but refused to exclude it if Sinn Fein could not form a majority (election posters depicted in Dublin)
Fianna Fail emerged from Saturday’s election as the largest party with the narrowest margin over the rising Sinn Fein.
Mr. Martin’s party ended with 38 seats for 37 from Sinn Fein after two days of counting.
But since the Fianna Fail speaker was re-elected without a match, both parties essentially ‘won’ the same number of seats.
Fine Gael was the big loser and only won 35 seats after being the largest party in 47 in the campaign.
Sinn Fein was undoubtedly the party that had the most to celebrate, despite the fact that he had broken Ireland’s long-standing two-party system.
Mrs. McDonald’s party triumphed in the popular vote and may have won many more seats – possibly an extra 11 – if it had played more candidates in the historic game.
As such, the momentum behind her lies in taking the first steps in what could be a long and arduous process to form a new government.
She predicted that she could be the next taoiseach of Ireland.