Leo Varadkar is set to be replaced by Michael Martin as Irish Taoiseach after centre-right and greens’ coalition deal is approved
- Fianna Fail won the most seats back in February’s inconclusive general election
- Becoming Taoiseach represents the culmination of 30 years in frontline politics
- Agreement on shared priorities with Fine Gael and Green Party delayed by Covid
Ireland’s new premier is set to be elected later after political rivals agreed to form an historic governing coalition.
Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail won the most seats in February’s inconclusive general election and his accession to the position of Taoiseach represents the culmination of 30 years in mainstream political life.
Detailed negotiations on an agreement on shared priorities with Fine Gael and the smaller Green Party have been delayed by the coronavirus crisis.
The Irish Dail Parliament are expected to nominate Michael Martin (pictured) for Taoiseach
A full sitting of all 160 public representatives elected in February is envisaged and the temporary change of venue from Leinster House is to enable social distancing.
They are expected to nominate Mr Martin for Taoiseach then he will travel to meet Irish President Michael D Higgins at Dublin Castle to receive his seal of office.
Ministers are also due to be appointed later on Saturday.
Mr Martin will take over the role of Irish premier from Leo Varadkar in an historic reconciliation of a political feud with Fine Gael dating back to the foundation of the state a century ago.
Mr Martin will take over the role of Irish premier from Leo Varadkar (pictured) in an historic reconciliation of a political feud with Fine Gael
Fine Gael are due to retrieve the Taoiseach’s role at the end of next year under the terms of the coalition agreement.
The two larger parties needed the support of the Greens to have a working majority in the Irish parliament, equating to around 80 seats, underpinning an extended period in office.
After weeks of talks, proposals on coalition were put to party memberships and results declared on Friday.
Fine Gael resoundingly endorsed them with 80 per cent in favour. Fianna Fail recorded 74 per cent.
The Greens’ support was the subject of speculation as it consulted its members but 76 per cent decided in favour.
Among the first tasks of the Irish Government will be to renew legislation enabling the non-jury Special Criminal Court to continue dealing with serious organised crime in the Republic.
The effect of Brexit and rebuilding an economy plunged by the virus into what some commentators believed will be one of the worst ever recessions will also be pressing challenges.
Sinn Fein won the popular vote in last winter’s proportional representation election through an appeal to the young and buoyed by anger at the cost of housing and flaws in the health system.
It did not run enough candidates to fully translate votes into seats and was unable to form a ‘coalition of the left’ with other parties of similar views but will now lead the opposition.