Ireland’s newly elected lawmakers were settling in for a protracted period of negotiations over the formation of a new government Tuesday, as the counting of votes cast Friday was wrapping up. The new legislature, which is known as Dáil Éireann, will meet for the first time on March 10, though there are few signs that a government would be in place by then, or in subsequent weeks. While a number of alignments between parties and independent lawmakers are possible, none seems easy to arrange as long as the two large center-right groupings—Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil—remain reluctant to work together. A second election is possible, though most parties will seek to avoid a contest this year to gain time to rebuild their war chests.
The counting of votes in Ireland’s general election finally ended on Thursday as the last two parliamentary seats were distributed six days after voters went to the polls. The result of the election is now official – and it does not make happy reading for Enda Kenny, the outgoing prime minister, writes Vincent Boland in Dublin. Mr Kenny’s centre-right Fine Gael party won 50 of parliament’s 158 seats – a far worse showing than it had expected. It had won 76 seats in the last election in 2011, and (after defections) had 66 seats in the outgoing parliament, making it by far the biggest party.