Ireland: After Inconclusive Vote Ireland Faces Political Stalemate | Wall Street Journal

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.

Ireland: Counting finally ends six days later | Financial Times

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.

Ireland: Likely hung parliament spells talk of ‘grand coalition’ | The Guardian

A government in Ireland is unlikely to be formed in time for the annual St Patrick’s Day meeting of Irish premier and US president in Washington DC, with the Republic’s election on course to produce a hung parliament. Fine Gael, the main party in the outgoing coalition, is set to lose up to 20 seats as voters wreaked revenge on its coalition government with Labour that brought in austerity measures. Ireland has been fighting to plug the gap in the nation’s finances and meet the demands of the International Monetary Fund, which had bailed it out from bankruptcy. Its economy has the current highest growth rate in the EU (7%) and falling unemployment. Former Labour leader and ex-deputy prime minister, Eamon Gilmore, said his party’s disastrous performance – down from 33 seats in the 2011 election to under 10 – was a result of it being prepared to take hard decisions during its time in office.