Europe

40 days in limbo: Ireland fails to elect leader for 2nd time

  • FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 file photo, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, left, as he speaks with members of his delegation at the conclusion of an EU summit in Brussels. Ireland remains mired in political limbo after lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected all three candidates to lead the country’s next government. The inconclusive votes on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 represented the second time that lawmakers have failed to select a prime minister following Ireland’s Feb. 26 election. That poll 40 days ago left the two traditional enemies of political life - Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael and Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail - virtually neck and neck in a fractured parliament. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 file photo, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, left, as he speaks with members of his delegation at the conclusion of an EU summit in Brussels. Ireland remains mired in political limbo after lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected all three candidates to lead the country’s next government. The inconclusive votes on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 represented the second time that lawmakers have failed to select a prime minister following Ireland’s Feb. 26 election. That poll 40 days ago left the two traditional enemies of political life - Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael and Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail - virtually neck and neck in a fractured parliament. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2010 file photo, leader of Fianna Fail Michael Martin speaks to the media during a press conference in Dublin, Ireland. Ireland remains mired in political limbo after lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected all three candidates to lead the country’s next government. The inconclusive votes on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 represented the second time that lawmakers have failed to select a prime minister following Ireland’s Feb. 26 election. That poll 40 days ago left the two traditional enemies of political life - Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael and Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail - virtually neck and neck in a fractured parliament. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, file)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2010 file photo, leader of Fianna Fail Michael Martin speaks to the media during a press conference in Dublin, Ireland. Ireland remains mired in political limbo after lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected all three candidates to lead the country’s next government. The inconclusive votes on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 represented the second time that lawmakers have failed to select a prime minister following Ireland’s Feb. 26 election. That poll 40 days ago left the two traditional enemies of political life - Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael and Micheal Martin’s Fianna Fail - virtually neck and neck in a fractured parliament. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, file)  (The Associated Press)

Ireland remains mired in political limbo after lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected all three candidates to lead the country's next government.

Wednesday's inconclusive votes represent the second time that lawmakers have failed to select a prime minister following Ireland's Feb. 26 election. That poll 40 days ago left the two traditional enemies of political life — Prime Minister Enda Kenny's Fine Gael and Micheal Martin's Fianna Fail — virtually neck and neck in a fractured parliament.

Their parties have never shared power, but Kenny and Martin planned to meet Wednesday night to open discussions on forming a possible coalition. Should they fail, caretaker leader Kenny might form a fragile minority government or call a second 2016 election.

Ireland's record for going without a government is 48 days.