Poll points to hung Irish parliament _ or historic alliance

An exit poll in Ireland's election has found that voters have turned away from 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.

Saturday's poll by Irish broadcasters RTE was revealed hours before Saturday's start to a ballot count expected to run into Sunday.

It says Kenny's Fine Gael party has received 24.8 percent of first-preference votes, much lower than expected, while its age-old enemy Fianna Fail has won 21.1 percent. They have never worked together in government.

The poll involved face-to-face surveys of 4,283 people who had just voted in all 40 constituencies at 225 polling stations. It had an error margin of 1.5 percentage points.