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Opposition candidates favored as Irish voters in 2 districts fill empty seats in parliament

In this picture taken on Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, pedestrians pass a street beggar on O'Connell Bridge in central Dublin, Ireland, with the city's financial district in the background. Ireland is rebounding strongly from its 2010 international bailout and seeking to repay its International Monetary Fund loans early to save on interest costs. (AP Photo/Shawn Pogatchnik)

In this picture taken on Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, pedestrians pass a street beggar on O'Connell Bridge in central Dublin, Ireland, with the city's financial district in the background. Ireland is rebounding strongly from its 2010 international bailout and seeking to repay its International Monetary Fund loans early to save on interest costs. (AP Photo/Shawn Pogatchnik)  (The Associated Press)

Voters are deciding who should fill two empty seats in Ireland's parliament in a test of the government's unpopularity following years of tax hikes and spending cuts.

Analysts are forecasting opposition victories in Friday's by-elections to fill two seats for southwest Dublin and the western rural district of Roscommon-South Leitrim. Results are expected Saturday.

Both districts feature pockets of poverty and abandoned construction projects, a legacy of the 2008 collapse of Ireland's credit-fueled Celtic Tiger boom. Left-wing opposition candidates critical of the austerity-enforcing government of Prime Minister Enda Kenny are the favorites to win both contests.

The two seats became vacant in May when their holders — one from Kenny's Fine Gael party — won seats in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Kenny's two-party government faces re-election by March 2016.