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Indian-origin Irish PM Leo Varadkar suffers bruising polls

London: Ireland's Indian-origin Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has suffered a bruising general election as his liberal-conservative Fine Gael party took a battering in the face of an unprecedented surge in the fortunes of the nationalist party Sinn

Fein.

As the poll results poured in overnight on Sunday, Varadkar's party was pushed down to third place with Sinn Fein in the lead, followed by conservative Fianna Fail in second

place.

In what has been described as one of the most extraordinary election results for the country, the process of government formation is likely to be very long-drawn one with Varadkar having ruled out an alliance with Sinn Fein historically associated with the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and dedicated to the reunification of Ireland.

The final results of the weekend's election are still being counted but with all first preferences counted, Sinn Fein has 24.5 per cent compared to 22.2 per cent for Fianna Fail and 20.9 per cent for Fine

Gael.

"Nobody can be forced into some sort of forced marriage or forced coalition," said Varadkar, who took over as the Irish Taoiseach or Prime Minister in 2017.

"In order to form a government together, you have to have roughly the same views around the courts and the criminal justice system; around how the economy and society should be run and also how democracy should function. That is what makes my party Fine Gael not compatible with Sinn F in," he said.

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