Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has been re-elected Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister), the first Fine Gael leader to hold the leadership in two consecutive governments.
Enda Kenny elected Taoiseach on the fourth Dáil vote, 70 days after the General Electionhttps://t.co/GMwWV33KA0— RTÉ News (@rtenews) May 6, 2016
Over two months after the general election, Fine Gael finally won the support of enough Independents to elect their leader with backroom talks still ongoing even as Kenny was nominated as Taoiseach in the Dáil.
As well as the having the support of his own Fine Gael TDs, he received a vote from Independents Katherine Zappone and Michael Lowry; five of the six Independent Alliance TDs Finian McGrath, Shane Ross, Sean Canney, Kevin Boxer Moran and John Halligan; and the support of just two of the Rural Alliance TDs, Michael Harty and Denis Naughten.
Noel Grealish, Michael Fitzmaurice, Michael Healy-Rae and Maureen O’Sullivan abstained from the vote while both Mattie McGrath and Michael Collins voted against Kenny.
Fitzmaurice is believed to have abstained as he could not strike a deal on turf-cutting earlier today. The rules in question are EU rules Fine Gael can not remove themselves from.
Kenny won the vote by a margin of 59 to 49, just one over the 58 TDs he needed to be elected.
Fianna Fáil and the Green Party abstained from the vote while Sinn Féin, Labour and the Social Democrats opposed Kenny's nomination.
Independents 4 Change Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Catherine Connolly and Seamus Healy also all opposed.
Despite the endless discussions over water charges in the past few weeks, which was one of the main concessions agreed upon in the confidence and supply deal between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael which sees them support a Fine Gael-led minority government, it was disagreements over turf that caused the vote to be delayed as FG TDs continued to hash out an agreement with the Rural Alliance and Independent Alliance while proceedings were already underway in government chambers.
The eleventh hour talks caused concerns that Jenny would not succeed in his fourth bid to be elected Taoiseach, with many believing that failure to secure a deal with Independents before this vote would result in a further general election.
With just one TD over the quota, if two TDs are lost my the government at any stage a general election will have to be called.
Kenny has since traveled to meet President Michael D. Higgins in Áras an Uachtaráin where he will be formally sworn in.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny arriving at the Phoenix Park pic.twitter.com/DTZVBtnHNa— Micheal Mac Suibhne (@MicMacSuibh) May 6, 2016
The Dáil is set to meet again at 5.30pm (in Ireland) for the cabinet roles to be announced.
You can read more on the turbulent road to electing a Taoiseach in the past ten weeks with Deaglán De Bréadún here.
The Country has a Taoiseach pic.twitter.com/NBim69qQpr— Joe Carey (@joecareytd) May 6, 2016