DUBLIN – Hopes of forging a historic coalition between Ireland's two traditional political foes have been dashed after one party, Fianna Fail, decided it cannot partner Prime Minister Enda Kenny in government.
Thursday's decision at a Dublin meeting of Fianna Fail lawmakers leaves two possible outcomes from Ireland's inconclusive election. That Feb. 26 vote reduced Kenny's Fine Gael to nearly equal terms with Fianna Fail in an exceptionally fractured parliament.
Either party could try to form a weak minority government that would require the other party's acquiescence in parliamentary votes to survive. Ireland last had such a government in 1987-89, when a Fianna Fail administration negotiated vote-by-vote backing from Fine Gael. Fianna Fail has never returned that favor.
Kenny could call a second election in hopes of strengthening his center-ground party's position.