The Latest: Finance chief says Irish may face 2nd election

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The Latest on Ireland's election results (all times local):

11:15 a.m.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has fueled speculation that the outcome of Friday's election could lead to a second election later this year to try to break a looming political deadlock.

Ireland hasn't experienced rapid-fire elections amid a finely balanced parliament since 1982.

But Noonan — the most powerful figure in the 5-year-old coalition government of Prime Minister Enda Kenny — thinks that the results still being announced Saturday point to a possible hung parliament.

"We may all be back here again very shortly," Noonan said, speaking inside an election count center.


11 a.m.

Ireland's people are expressing widespread apprehension that a possible combination of the country's parties of perpetual opposition, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, could work together for the good of the nation.

That skeptical mood was summed up by Sunday's editorial cartoon in the Irish Independent. In it, a reporter asks the Fine Gael and Fianna Fail leaders: "What next?"

Prime Minister Enda Kenny replies: "Stable chaos." Micheal Martin counters: "Chaotic stability.'"


10:30 a.m.

A marathon election count has resumed to determine the balance of power in Ireland's next parliament, with a historic alliance between two age-old foes a potential outcome.

With nearly two-thirds of parliamentary seats filled from Friday's election, the two perennial heavyweights of Irish politics — governing Fine Gael and opposition Fianna Fail — remain neck and neck with 28 seats each.

Electoral officials expect nearly all winners in Ireland's 158-member parliament to be declared by Sunday night.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have never shared power in the 94 years since Ireland won independence from Britain. But neither side has ruled out forming a partnership if government stability requires this in Ireland's increasingly fractured political landscape.

The new parliament is scheduled to convene March 10 to elect a prime minister.