Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin arrives at Leinster House today for the convening of the 33rd Dáil. Martin’s party captured the largest number of seats in the recent general election but he will need the support of other parties if he is to secure his ambition of becoming taoiseach. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Irish Echo Staff
The newly elected Dáil convened in Dublin today and on the order of business was the election of a new taoiseach to lead a new government.
Before votes for taoiseach, however, the 160-strong chamber re-elected Fianna Fáil’s Seán Ó Fearghaíl as Ceann Comhairle or chairman/speaker.
The leaders of the four main political parties following the election were then nominated for the office of taoiseach.
The four are outgoing taoiseach and Fine Gael leader, Leo Varadkar, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.
A result in the competition for the post of taoiseach was not expected by most observers.
The Irish Times was reporting that Mary Lou McDonald was likely to secure the largest single number of votes but not enough of them to win outright. Her party did win the largest number of first preference votes in the February 8 election.
The news website thejournal.ie news pointed out that the last time the post of taoiseach was open to a vote by TDs it took seventy days for a decision to be reached. That resulted in Enda Kenny being elected taoiseach on May 6, 2016.
Before any voting today the Clerk of Dáil Éireann, Peter Finnegan, read out the proclamation from President Michael D Higgins convening the 33rd Dáil.
If no taoiseach is elected today, Leo Varadkar will travel to Áras an Uachtaráin to tender his resignation to President Higgins.
He will then continue in the job in an effective caretaker role. Mr. Varadkar’s cabinet will also continue to function in its governmental role.
Meantime, negotiations between the parties and independent TDs will continue until there is agreement reached as to who should be next taoiseach.