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Sun Feb 9, 2020, 04:15 PM

Sinn Fein to try to form ruling coalition after Irish election success

Sinn Fein to try to form ruling coalition after Irish election success

Party disrupts Ireland’s centrist tradition by taking almost a quarter of votes
Rory Carroll Ireland correspondent
The Guardian
Published: 14:22 Sunday, 09 February 2020

Sinn Féin will try to form a government in Ireland after apparently winning more votes than any other party in Saturday’s general election – a historic result that upended the political system.

The party leader, Mary Lou McDonald, told cheering supporters on Sunday that a “revolution” had occurred and she would try to form a ruling coalition with other parties. “This is no longer a two-party system,” she said. Sinn Féin, once a pariah for its IRA links, won almost a quarter of first-preference votes, possibly pipping Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, two centrist rivals that have taken turns ruling Ireland for a century.

Gerry Adams, who stepped down as party leader in 2018 ...said Sinn Féin would use its mandate to plan for a united Ireland – a defining tenet for the party. The issue barely featured in the campaign, but an exit poll of voters found most supporting a border poll in the next five years. Sceptics say that could destabilise both sides of the island. Unionist leaders in Northern Ireland gave no immediate response to the results south of the border...People across the political spectrum said the election was seismic, even if its consequences remained unclear...

The commentator Fintan O’Toole wrote in the Irish Times that young voters had shattered the taboo of backing a party associated with terrorism. “They have gone where they were warned not to go and in doing so they have redrawn the map of Irish politics to include territory previously marked ‘here be dragons’.”

More here.


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