Ireland held a general election on 8 February, just one week after neighboring Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Based on the latest figures available on Monday morning, the country’s election count has failed to produce a clear winner.
Sinn Fein, the left-wing Irish nationalist party, has won the popular vote in a general election. Ballot counts on Sunday revealed that Sinn Fein received 24.5% of the first preference vote, almost doubling its share from the last election in 2016. The 2016 election ended with no clear winner, and it took 10 weeks of talks to form a new government.
The opposition Fianna Fail party won 22.2%. Incumbent prime inister Leo Varadkar’s governing Fine Gael party won 20.9%. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are the two parties that have dominated Ireland’s political scene over the past decades.
Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are all projected to win more than 20% of the national vote based on results from one third of constituencies that have completed their counting.
Ireland’s system elects an average of four parliamentarians from each of the country’s 39 constituencies.
Analysts say that this time, the country could be without a government for months after the three parties are set to win a roughly equal share of the vote: “There’s plenty of experience in coalition government, some experience in minority government, but no experience of equally matched parties”, an expert warned.