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

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.