Micheal Martin, leader of the Fianna Fail party, became Ireland’s new prime minister Saturday, and formed a coalition with longtime rival party Fine Gael of outgoing PM Leo Varadkar.
According to the deal, Fianna Fail will govern with Fine Gael and the Green Party. Martin was elected by 93 votes to 63 and also secured support from some independent members of parliament. He thanked Varadkar for leading the first stage of the country’s fight against the coronavirus.
Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have never before formed a government together, but this time they were forced to join. Fianna Fail won the most seats in the February 8 election, with Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the IRA, closely behind. Sinn Fein secured the most votes, but its total of 37 seats was one fewer than Fianna Fail’s 38 seats in the 160-seat parliament.
“I believe civil war politics ended a long time ago in our country, but today civil war politics ends in our parliament. Two great parties coming together with another great party, the Green Party, to offer what this country needs, a stable government for the betterment of our country and for the betterment of our world”, Varadkar said.
Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald accused Fianna Fail and Fine Gael of conspiring to exclude her party and called the coalition a “marriage of convenience”.