Developing Irish election results: “weird & fractured”

As of 3 p.m. Irish time/ 10 a.m. U.S. Eastern time, here’s what we know about the outcome of the 26 February election result:

  • With 27 of 40 constituencies complete, and 120 of 158 seats filled, it is clear that the Fine Gael/Labour coalition of the last five years will not be returned to power.
  • Fine Gael has picked up 36 seats and 25.52 percent of the first preference vote. Fianna Fáil is a close second, with 34 seats and 24.35 percent of first preference votes. There is much talk of a ‘grand coalition’  between the two rivals.
  • Sinn Féin and independent candidates each picked up 17 seats; Labour only six seats.
  • National turnout was 65 percent.
  • Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he will not resign despite his government suffering a resounding defeat. He acknowledged the emerging election results were a bitter blow to his party.

Irish Times columnist Una Mullally gives this overview of the outcome.

This weird, fractured, all-over-the-place result, which took a wrecking ball to a government and then wondered what rubble could be cobbled together. It will come as a shock to some media commentators and international observers and people in big houses, that the Irish people really did not like their government. Or maybe any government. So this happened, whatever this is. …

… It’s clear that the Irish people wanted change. But a captive audience assembled and no one came on stage. So the audience booed, they heckled. Some asked for their money back, others wondered what else was on, others just went home. They dispersed, returning to familiar haunts or gave something new a shot. With no new headliner, the support acts won.