Ireland’s Sinn Fein throws down gauntlet to rival party
Dublin: Sinn Fein challenged its main rival for office in Ireland to do a deal on forming a new government on Thursday, after its dramatic election surge brought it to the threshold of power.
With no party in the next parliament having secured a majority in Saturday's vote, talks to thrash out a deal started after the results were announced earlier this week.
With its 37 seats, the left-wing Sinn Fein broke the stranglehold of two-party politics in Ireland.
Of the two centre-right parties who until now have dominated Irish politics, Fianna Fail won 38, while Prime Minister Leo Varadkar's Fine Gael secured 35.
Eighty seats are required for a majority in the Dail, Ireland's lower house of parliament, making a multi-party coalition inevitable without another election.
The results capped a remarkable transformation for Sinn Fein, once shunned for its links to IRA paramilitaries but whose policies to tackle a housing and health crisis now have popular appeal. – AFP