Irish coalition parties top European election results

DUBLIN, Ireland (Reuters) – Ireland’s main coalition parties Fine Gael, and Fianna Fail each won four seats in the European Parliament following the marathon count of votes that ended on Friday. The main opposition, Sinn Fein, was behind both with two seats.

Sinn Fein gained one seat in the 2019 election, but had hoped for a much better result in the European and Local Council elections that were held on the same date. Instead, they received only half of the votes of their main competitors.

In October, the left-wing party had polled as high as 35%. However, its three-year lead in opinion polls disappeared before last Friday’s election as voters began to place immigration above affordable housing – an issue that Sinn Fein dominated.

It won 12% of first-preference votes in local council elections, and 11% at the European polls. The results took six days to be counted under Ireland’s proportional representation system.

Fine Gael (centre-right), a party of Prime Minister Simon Harris and a member the largest political group in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party, lost one seat from 2019. Fianna Fail gained two seats. It is part of the liberal Renew Europe group.

The majority of seats were won by independent candidates. This is a diverse and large political force that has been growing in Ireland, which also gained in the local election.

Although no right-wing candidate from Ireland was elected to Brussels, this is contrary to the trend of the wider bloc. However, a prominent anti-immigration campaigner did relatively well in the Irish South constituency, and the far right won a few of the 949 seats in the council, which represents a significant increase over five years ago.

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