Exit polls from Friday's balloting in the Republic of Ireland give the Fine Gael party a narrow lead over primary opposition Fianna Fáil, the BBC reported Saturday, but it doesn’t look like the incumbent Fine Gael-Labour coalition will remain in power.
Complicating the future of Ireland’s government is the fact that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael both have said they would not want to form a coalition, making the formation of a new government problematic. Pressure, however, may force the parties to make some sort of deal in the coming weeks.
An exit poll from the Irish Times indicated about a third of the Irish electorate voted for smaller parties or independents, such as Sinn Féin, which got about 15 percent of the overall vote. Support for Fine Gael has fallen since the last general election in 2011 when it garnered 36.1 percent of the vote. This election, it accounted for 26.1 percent.
Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said his “sense is that a government will be formed." the BBC reported. “I don't think there will be a second election within weeks. How stable a government, that remains to be seen," he said.
Since the last election, Ireland has paid back its debts from a 2010 bailout, maintained rapid growth and has spearheaded marriage equality, all under the guidance of Fine Gael. Yet thousands in Ireland said they feel they haven’t seen the signs of economic recovery that have been touted by the government, prompting some to support other parties.
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In January, Dublin saw its highest number of homeless families on record, with 134 families asking for homelessness services. Youth unemployment also remains high, lingering around 20 percent.