Voting is underway in Ireland, the first eurozone member to hold a general election after receiving a massive bail-out.
The country’s ruling Fianna Fail is expected to pay the price for the collapse of the Celtic Tiger’s economy. Voters are angry over the bursting of a property bubble that has left them steeped in debt and facing years of austerity to repay the European Union and the International Monetary Fund for an 85 billion euro handout.
This is likely to spell success for the centre-right Fine Gael party. Polls suggest its leader Enda Kenny could form a single party administration for the first time in its 80-year history. But most analysts expect it will form a coalition with the centre-left Labour party of Eamon Gilmore.
The expected humiliation of Fianna Fail, which has dominated the Irish politics since its independence, will mark a turning point, and could be the sharpest fall in support for any Irish party.