Nine weeks of political paralysis in Ireland have been broken with a landmark deal between its two big rival parties.
Fine Gael is now set to form a minority government, enabled by Fianna Fail which will give its backing over a period of three budgets, until Autumn 2018.
The accord between the historic rivals, both on the centre right, follows an inconclusive general election on February 26. It still needs formal approval by each of the parties.
The deal should see Fine Gael’s Enda Kenny back as Taoiseach or Prime Minister. a role he has held for the past five years, although negotiations are set to continue over the weekend with the support of Independent members of parliament crucial.
Fine Gael won 50 seats and Fianna Fail 44 in February, when voters angry at the meagre benefits from a brisk economic recovery ousted Ireland’s coalition government but failed to pick a clear alternative.