By Henry McDonald, The Guardian
Ireland’s most dominant political party, Fianna FÃ¡il, is on the road to a historic and devastating defeat in the republic’s general election.
Just months after accepting an EU/IMF bailout, the government is likely to finish in fourth place behind a resurgent Labour party and a slew of independent candidates.
The scale of Fianna FÃ¡il’s losses is so great that a number of high-profile ministers, including finance minister Brian Lenihan, who negotiated the bailout, are in danger of losing their seats. His outgoing ministerial colleague Mary Hanafin also faces the possibility of being unseated in her DÃºn Laoghaire/Rathdown constituency.
Fine Gael is now poised to form a government, possibly even as a single party, its director of elections, Phil Hogan, told RTÃ‰ Radio. “Anybody that writes [us] off so early in the day… I think they’ll probably get a fright as the day wears on,” he said. If the party fails to win an overall majority, however â€“ which an exit poll from RTÃ‰ suggested would be the outcome earlier in the day â€“ it is likely to seek to form a coalition with the Irish Labour Party. Either way, Enda Kenny is certain to be elected Taoiseach.
According to RTÃ‰, Fine Gael took 36.1% of the vote, with Labour coming second with 20.5%. Fianna FÃ¡il support is put at just 15.1%, by far its worst general election result, and will mean a massive loss of seats across the country â€“ including a wipeout in the capital.
To read more, visit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/26/irish-election-result-enda-kenny
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