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Ireland Election Results Leave Leadership Question Unresolved

  • VOA News

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, center, leaves the general election count at the count center in Castlebar, Ireland, Feb. 27, 2016.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, center, leaves the general election count at the count center in Castlebar, Ireland, Feb. 27, 2016.

Ireland has announced results from last week's inconclusive election following an overnight recount of disputed ballots, but the final shape of a new government remains unclear.

Thursday's results leave the centrist Fine Gael party as the largest in parliament, but with only 50 seats, having lost 26 in the election. Junior partner Labour lost 30 seats, meaning the two parties no longer have enough seats between them to make up a ruling coalition.

The second-largest party in parliament, Fianna Fail, ended up with 44 seats, a big gain that leaves Ireland's lawmakers in an uncomfortable predicament: Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have been bitter rivals since the end of Ireland's civil war nearly a century ago.

The results mean Irish members of parliament can expect protracted negotiations as they hammer out a workable coalition, or instead, decide to hold a new election.

The next time the parties face each other in the halls of parliament is March 10, when deputies meet to try to appoint a prime minister.

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