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Irish Elections: Republicans Sinn Féin in Surprise Win, Edging Out Centre-Right Parties


The recent Irish elections have sent shock waves through the country, and also to Great Britain. With more than three-quarters of seats filled, results are showing a historic performance for the left-wing, republican party, Sinn Féin.

In a tight three-way race, ruling party Fine Gael, led by Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, was edged out – although no one party secured enough seats to win outright majority.

Election results for first preference selections were as follows:

Sinn Féin 24.5%
Fianna Fáil 22%
Fine Gael 21%

Mary Lou McDonald (image above), President of Sinn Féin, described the party’s surprise as “something of a revolution in the ballot box.”

She told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland show on Monday that, “The frustration people have felt for a long time with the two-party system, whereby Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil handed the baton of power between each other – that’s now over.”

Pundits have noted how this latest surge by Sinn Féin has finally broken the duopoly of the country’s two party system, suddenly transformed into a three party system.

Sinn Féin increased its seats from 23 in 2016, to 40 in this election.

Sinn Féin is vowing to play a central role in the formation of a new government, ideally with other left-wing parties and others like the Green Party, although it has said it will be in talks with center-right stalwarts Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. McDonald told RTE:

“My first job of work… is to establish with other parties whether or not there are the numbers, whether there is the political will, to deliver a new government without Fianna Fail or Fine Gael.”

Shock results in the south have drawn criticism north of the border though, with DUP MP Sammy Wilson remarking that, “People down south will soon catch on, Sinn Féin are a good party of opposition where they can make all sorts of promises which bears no resemblance to reality, but they are a pretty useless party of government as we have learned over a number of years at Stormont.”

In the Shadow of Brexit

Naturally, this latest result in Dublin will trigger the debate for Irish unification – an issue already fermenting from Brexit and Boris Johnson’s still lingering customs and border issues with technocrats in Brussels.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, also from Northern Ireland’s DUP party, insists that, “Three-quarters of people in Ireland have not voted for Sinn Fein and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.”

A Sinn Féin party spokesperson immediately responded saying that, “Jeffrey Donaldson needs to read the latest in a series of polls which shows that more than 57% of people in the south support a referendum on Irish unity within five years.”

Interesting times ahead for Ireland.

READ MORE IRELAND NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Irish Files

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