İrem GÖL -TDO- The coronavirus crisis has spurred government formation talks in Ireland between Leo Varadkar’s ruling Fine Gael Party and its old rival, Fianna Fail. Both parties lost seats in a general election last month that marked a revolt against the political establishment, but parliamentary arithmetic and the coronavirus pandemic have prodded them towards an unprecedented coalition.
After weeks of exploratory talks, the two parties issued an agreed statement on Wednesday night that cites the need to form a strong, stable government to help Ireland recover from an emergency that it is set to affect the health of thousands and plunge the economy into a deep recession. A coalition would mean Varadkar, currently caretaker taoiseach, would stay in power and rotate the Office with Michael Martin, the leader of Fianna Fail, during an expected four or five year term. The two parties would still be short of a majority in the 160-seat chamber, so would need to bring onboard independent MPs, the Greens or small leftwing parties to form a ruling coalition – a courtship that could last weeks.