İrem UZUN -TDO- Sinn Fein has made history by smashing Ireland’s two-party political system with a groundbreaking general election result that made headlines across the globe. The party’s leader Mary Lou McDonald declared that the extraordinary election result marks a revolution in Irish politics as voters ditched Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in their thousands. “This is no longer a two-party system,” she said.
With all first preferences counted, the left-wing republican party has taken 24.5% of the vote, compared to 22% for Fianna Fáil and 21% for Fine Gael. Vote counts are still underway, but Saturday’s elections have thrown Ireland into political turmoil, with no party winning anything close to a majority. Long held back by its past links to the paramilitary Irish Republican Army (IRA), Sinn Fein is now poised to be a key part of negotiations to form a coalition.
Sinn Fein ran far fewer candidates than the other parties in Saturday’s election, and the ruling Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are expected to each win more seats in parliament. That means it’s not yet clear which parties would be able to form a coalition, though Sinn Fein has floated the idea of forming a left-wing government without the two major parties. If the negotiations end in deadlock, another election could be called. If Sinn Fein does join a coalition, it would put the party in the governments of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for the first time in history.