An exit poll by RTE, Ireland's state broadcaster shows a Fine Gael/Labour party government is the most likely result of today’s general election count.
The poll shows Fine Gael at 36.1 Labour at 20.5 per cent, Fianna Fail at 15.1 per cent, Sinn Fein at 10.1 per cent , Greens at 2.7 per cent and Independents at 15.4 per cent.
A desire to punish main government party Fianna Fail for their economic policies was foremost on the minds of Irish voters yesterday the RTE exit poll shows.
The exit opinion poll reflects what polls during the campaign have found, that Fine Gael the largest opposition party will form the next government most likely with Labor.
If so it will be a major achievement for Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny set to be next Prime Minister.
Only a few months ago he fought off a determined challenge by almost his entire shadow cabinet of ministers to replace him.
Having won that battle Kenny entered the campaign in fighting form and played out a three week devastating attack on the government parties and their handling of the fiscal crisis.
In the debates he proved able to hold his own with his more vaunted opponents and emerged untouched from what many pundits believed could be his Waterloo.
In contrast, his Labour Party counterpart Eamon Gilmore had a disappointing campaign, which began with high hopes that they could share power with Fine Gael and could well be the main party in that coalition.
If the exit poll is right Gilmore regained some late ground, enough to ensure a coalition government.
For Fianna Fail the election has been a disaster but perhaps no more than they expected it to be.
Having left the public finances in a shambles they will now struggle to reestablish themselves as a party of government.
Despite changing leaders mid stream to Michael Martin the overall impact has been that only the very hard core vote of the party appears to have stayed with them.
Sinn Fein will have had a good election if the exit poll holds true and will register the highest vote the party has done since the 1918 election in the south of Ireland.
The size of the independent vote is no real surprise either as disgruntled and angry voters sought single issue candidates out.
The Green Party has done better than expected as their prospects were always dim after being part of the disastrous outgoing government.
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