IRELAND: Gay PM Resigns After Election Stalemate

The Guardian reports:

Leo Varadkar has resigned as taoiseach after Ireland’s hung parliament entered deadlock over the choice of a new premier.

Varadkar submitted his resignation to Michael D Higgins, the president of Ireland, on Thursday night after a tempestuous but inconclusive sitting of Dáil Éireann, which met for the first time since the 8 February election. It adjourned until 5 March, giving party leaders three weeks to try to form a ruling coalition.

The Fine Gael leader and his administration will continue to work in their current roles until successors are appointed but will avoid major policy decisions, financial allocations and public appointments “unless absolutely necessary”, and only then after consultation with other parties.

The BBC reports:

Mr Varadkar, Fine Gael’s leader, will continue as caretaker taoiseach. He and the previous government will remain in place until a new government can be formed. With the election results failing to return a majority, voting was fractured along party lines. It took 70 days for parties to agree a government structure in 2016.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald had the highest number of votes in her favour, with 45, but a majority would require 80. Micheál Martin polled 41 votes, while Mr Varadkar recieved 31 votes.

The final candidate, Eamon Ryan, was left with 12 votes in his favour. “The responsibility is now on all of us to make sure we provide good government and indeed good opposition,” Mr Varadkar said.