LONDON (AP) — Final results in Ireland’s general election show three parties in a virtual tie for seats, signalling weeks of tense negotiations ahead to form a coalition government.
With all votes counted Tuesday, the center-right Fianna Fail party had 38 seats in the 160-seat Dail, the lower house of parliament. Sinn Fein won 37 and Fine Gael, the centrist party led by incumbent Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, took 35.
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party would try to form a government with independent lawmakers and smaller left-wing parties such as the Social Democrats and the Greens.
Saturday’s election produced a breakthrough for the left-wing, nationalist Sinn Fein, which has been long shunned by the other parties because of its historic links to the Irish Republican Army and decades of violence in Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fein’s radical proposals for tackling Ireland’s housing crisis and creaking healthcare system proved a powerful draw for young voters in a country that is still dealing with aftershocks of the 2008 global financial crisis, which hammered its debt-driven “Celtic Tiger” economy.