Thursday, 03 March 2011 00:00
Enda Kenny to be Prime Minister of Ireland as Fine Gael becomes be the largest party in the Irish Parliament for the first time in its 78-year history.
Fine Gael won the Irish General Election held on 25 February 2011 with 76 seats in the Dáil Éireann, the Irish Parliament.
In its best showing ever, Fine Gael replaced Fianna Fáil for the first time since 1927 as the largest party in Ireland.
With 76 seats, Fine Gael came seven seats short of an overall majority in the Dáil, something no Irish party has achieved since 1977.
Also in its best showing ever, the Labour Party almost doubled its share of the vote to become the second-largest party in the Dáil.
Fianna Fáil was swept from power in its worst defeat since the formation of the Irish State in 1921.
With only 20 seats, behind Fine Gael and Labour, it will be the first time since the 1927 election that Fianna Fáil will not be the largest party in the Dáil.
The Green Party, the junior party in the government coalition with Fianna Fáil, was wiped out from the Dáil as it lost all the six seats it had previously held.
Sinn Féin made significant gains winning 14 seats, four more than in the previous general election.
Two new parties entered the Dáil after the United Left Alliance -a coalition of left-wing groups- and New Vision -a coalition of independents- won 5 and 1 seat respectively.
As Fine Gael was short of an overall majority in the Dáil, it is expected that it will enter a coalition government with the Labour Party.
Following a meeting of Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, negotiating teams were appointed on 1 March to discuss the possibility of a joint programme for government.
Irish Election results: the 165 members of Dáil Éireann
Fine Gael (centre-right) : 76 seats (45.8% of seats)
Labour Party (centre-left): 37 seats (22.3%)
Fianna Fáil (centre-right): 20 seats (12%)
Sinn Féin (left): 14 seats (8.4%)
United Left Alliance (left): 5 seats (3%)
New Vision (independents): 1 seat (0.6%)