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Ireland forms new coalition government with Mícheál Martin as taoiseach

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2010 file photo, leader of Fianna Fail Michael Martin speaks to the media during a press conference in Dublin, Ireland.
FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2010 file photo, leader of Fianna Fail Michael Martin speaks to the media during a press conference in Dublin, Ireland. Copyright AP Photo/Peter Morrison
Copyright AP Photo/Peter Morrison
By Lauren Chadwick
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Mícheál Martin was elected Taoiseach as part of a new Irish coalition government.

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Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin has been elected Ireland's Taoiseach or prime minister after rival parties in Ireland voted to endorse a coalition government.

Memberships of three parties in Ireland agreed to work together putting centre right party Fianna Fáil, centre party Fine Gael and the Green party in coalition with each other.

The two dominant parties in Ireland needed the votes from the Green party to form a government:

There was some speculation that the Green party would reject the government programme due to what they see as unambitious targets on carbon emissions.

The coalition follows an inconclusive February election where no single party won the majority.

Although left party Sinn Féin performed strongly in February’s general election, both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had refused to hold coalition talks with them due to their historic links to the Irish Republican Army.

Under an agreement struck by the parties, Martin will only hold the post of "Taoiseach" or prime minister, until 2022, when he will be replaced by his predecessor Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael.

In his acceptance speech, Martin acknowledged the different traditions of the three parties and pledged to lead a government programme of "recovery" and "renewal".

He also paid tribute to the work of frontline staff and health workers during the coronavirus and warned Ireland faced "the fastest-moving recession ever to hit" the country as a consequence of the pandemic.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted his approval of the new coalition.

"Congratulations to Ireland on forming a new Government and to @MichealMartinTD on becoming Taoiseach," Johnson tweeted.

"Ireland is our closest neighbour, good friend and ally on issues such as climate change, the global fight against Covid-19 and our shared values on human rights and democracy."

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