MADRID, 11 Feb. –
The final count of the votes of the legislative elections held this Saturday in Ireland has concluded with the Fianna Fáil party with a seat more than Sinn Féin, after the partial results advanced the victory of the latter.
Specifically, Michelan Martin's Fianna Fáil has obtained a total of 38 seats, a narrow advantage over the 37 achieved by Mary Lou McDonald's Sinn Féin. However, Sinn Féin does have a higher percentage of votes than Fianna Fáil, 24.53 percent compared to 22.18, an advantage that has not translated into more seats.
Fianna Fáil, one of the traditionally dominant parties of Irish politics alongside Fine Gael, has left six seats over the outcome of the 2016 elections. Meanwhile, Sinn Féin has increased its seats by 14 compared to 2016.
In third place was the Fine Gael of the outgoing Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, with 35 seats and 20.86 percent of the vote, 15 seats less than in 2016.
Behind is the Green Party, with 12 seats and 7.13 percent of the votes (10 more than in 2016); the Labor Party, 6 seats and 4.38 percent of the votes (one less); the Social Democratic Party, 6 seats and 2.9 percent of the support (three more); and Solidarity-The People in Front of the Benefits, with 5 seats and 2.63 percent of the votes (one less). For their part, independent candidates have won 21 seats and 15.39 percent of the vote.
The ballot box poll published on Saturday night pointed to a triple tie between Sinn Féin, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil with 22 percent of votes each, but official results indicated that Sinn Féin could be the winner of these elections with several percentage points of advantage over Fiana Fáil.
CONTACTS TO FORM GOVERNMENT
McDonald has announced the opening of conversations with other political formations with the intention of negotiating the formation of government and has specifically mentioned the Green Party, the Social Democratic Party and Solidarity-The People In Front of the Benefits, three minority and leftist parties.
“I have also said on other occasions that I will speak and listen to all. I think that is what adults do and that is what democracy demands,” McDonald said in press statements from the Royal Dublin Society headquarters in the Irish capital .
With these contacts he seeks to explore whether the formation of government would be possible and in that sense he has reproached the leaders of the two traditional parties – Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael and Micheál Martin of Fianna Fáil – who refuse to speak with Sinn Féin.
McDonald has acknowledged that he has been surprised by the increase in support for Sinn Féin and that they should have presented more candidates. “It is a great declaration of change. There is no longer a bipartisan system. People want a different type of government,” he argued.
FIANA FÁIL OPENS THE DOOR TO DIALOGUE
For his part, the leader of Fianna Fáil has expressed his willingness to negotiate a possible government with Sinn Féin or with Fine Gael and has claimed himself as a “democrat” who “listens to the people.”
In campaign Martin has ruled out any kind of understanding with McDonald or Varadkar. “I think we should let things calm down,” he told RTE public television. “We will evaluate the complete count and the total numbers of seats,” he said without ruling out possible coalitions at any time.
As a condition for a possible agreement, he has avoided mentioning the “moral” problems with Sinn Féin raised in the campaign for the relationship between McDonald's party and the armed struggle of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Northern Ireland and has focused on Change in the possible government program. “It must be consistent, sustainable and achievable,” he has riveted.
In any case he has recognized a political change, “a different, fragmented picture in which I think it will be very difficult to form a government and I hope there is no period of instability ahead.”
A BAD MARRIAGE
For his part, party leader Fine Gael has reiterated his rejection of any type of agreement with Sinn Féin. “A forced marriage would not result in a good government,” he said, and warned that “several months” could pass before a new government takes shape.
“We are willing to dialogue with other parties to form a government and give this country a government that can spend the next five years dealing with the problems we have had to face in recent years,” he said.
One of the most anticipated reactions to the historic electoral overturn in Ireland was that of the United Kingdom with the newly materialized Brexit and with the conservative Boris Johnson as prime minister.
A spokesman for Johnson has explained that they are “carefully” following the results of Ireland, “of course,” and stressed that “the United Kingdom and Ireland are neighbors and close friends and we hope we can continue to collaborate.”
“The close relationship between the United Kingdom and Ireland will continue whatever the outcome of the elections,” said the Johnson spokesman.