DUBLIN – The Latest on the 2016 Irish election. (all times local):
With official Irish election results yet to trickle in, leaders of the governing Fine Gael and Labour parties say Ireland's voters have demonstrated that they want a change in government, with 60 percent or more of voters picking an array of other parties, mostly on the left of the political spectrum.
Analysts poring over results compiled by election observers predict that Fine Gael will win fewer than 50 seats and Labour probably fewer than 10 in Ireland's 158-member parliament. A governing majority requires at least 79 lawmakers.
Kevin Humphreys, a Labour lawmaker fighting to retain his seat in Dublin Bay South, says his left-wing party has "had a very bad day ... but we'll rebuild and come back."
The first official winners are expected to be declared Saturday afternoon.
A detailed exit poll for Ireland's election has found that most voters spurned the coalition government of Prime Minister Enda Kenny and the country faces either a hung parliament with no workable majority — or an alliance between the traditional polar opposites of political life.
The poll by Irish broadcasters RTE was revealed hours ahead of Saturday's start to a ballot count expected to run into Sunday.
The poll says Kenny's Fine Gael party has received 24.8 percent of first-preference votes — much lower than any opinion poll during Ireland's three-week election campaign — while the party's age-old enemy Fianna Fail has won 21.1 percent.
The poll found that Sinn Fein received 16 percent of first-preference votes, sufficient to double its number of lawmakers — but not enough to give either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail a majority, even if either cut a deal with the Irish Republican Army-linked party.