Dominant Irish parties Fine Gael and Fianna Fail agreed to form a coalition to include the Green Party. The decision ends a political deadlock caused by inconclusive elections in February (Reuters). The February elections saw previous minority party Sinn Fein win the majority of the votes. The deal excluded Sinn Fein for its Irish unity beliefs and previous Irish Republican Army association (Irish Times).
The Fine Gael and Fianna Fail parties swapped majority control of Parliament since the Republic of Ireland’s creation, but inconclusive elections drew the two parties together. The deal would make Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin leader for the first half of the term, with Fine Gael Leader Leo Varadkar returning in 2022 (Reuters). The deal will also make Sinn Fein the main opposition party for the first time. Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald stated the coalition was “protecting the status quo and stopping change.” (Al Jazeera).