Irish ruling coalition punished by austerity-weary voters

Ballot boxes are emptied onto tables as the count gets under way at the RDS centre in Dublin on February 27, 2016Ireland faced political uncertainty on Saturday after two exit polls indicated voters had punished the governing coalition in Europe’s fastest-growing economy, still feeling the pain of years of austerity. As counting got under way following the parliamentary election, it appeared Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s centre-right Fine Gael and its Labour junior partner would lose support as voters angry at continuing hardship shifted to independents and leftwing parties. Exit polls indicated the two government parties would take between 55 and 68 seats between them, far short of the 80 needed to win a second term.

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