Fianna Fail-PD coalition looms as FF fall short of overall majority

 

A Fianna Fáil-PD coalition government is now the most likely outcome of Friday’s election as it becomes clear that Fianna Fáil will just fail to achieve the 84 seats needed for an overall majority in the next Dáil.

The Party is expected to get 81 or 82 seats. The PDs are continuing to surpass expectations with six seats and are still in the running for two more.

The Taoiseach said today it is "likely" that Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats will form a coalition government again.

Mr Ahern said he believed the most important outcome of this election was to establish a stable government and build on the economic success of the past ten years.

"I think the Irish electorate will say that it makes a lot of sense to go back to the Progressive Democrats," he said

Meanwhile recounts have been called in a number of key constituencies.

Recounts have been ordered Cork South West, Cork South Central, Kerry South, Limerick East Wicklow and Cavan Monaghan. The recount in Cavan Monaghan will resume on Tuesday.

In the Taoiseach’s constituency of Dublin Central, Sinn Féin called a recount after its candidate Mr Nicky Kehoe narrowly missed out on taking the final seat from Mr Ahern’s running mate Mr Dermot Fitzpatrick.

However the recount failed to give Mr Kehoe enough votes to overtake Mr Fitzpatrick.

Earlier Sinn Féin’s leader Mr Gerry Adams confirmed the party has sought legal advice after concerns about the transfer of votes in the seventh count which elected Mr Fitzpatrick.

A recount in Cork South Central was called after independent candidate Ms Kathy Synnot was declared elected, winning a seat from Fianna Fáil’s Mr John Dennehy by only three votes.

Counts are yet to be completed in Longford-Roscommon, Galway West, Laois-Offaly and Limerick East.

Fianna Fáil stands at 80 seats, Fine Gael on 31, Labour on 19, Progressive Democrats on 6 Sinn Féin 5, Greens 6 and independents on 14.

Fianna Fáil won 41.5 per cent of the national first preference vote, up 2.2 per cent on 1997 while Fine Gael’s support fell 5.5 per cent to 22.5 per cent.

Labour won 10.8 per cent a fall of 2.1 per cent. Sinn Féin almost trebled its vote to 6.5 per cent, the PDs won 4 per cent down 0.7 per cent and the Greens won 4 per cent up 1 per cent. Independents won 11 per cent of all first preferences.