Irish election: Sinn Féin’s Remarkable Success

Sinn Féin’s surge in popularity is the major story of the 2020 Irish general election. The left-wing, nationalist party won a mere 9.5% of the vote in 2019 local elections and, simultaneously, lost two of its three European Parliament seats. Yet in the February 8 general election Sinn Féin has won almost a quarter of the first preference votes (24.5%), ahead of leading rivals Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, and has emerged as a viable governing party.

Even Leo Varadkar, the outgoing Taoiseach or prime minister who leads Fine Gael, failed to top the poll in his constituency. He received 4,000 fewer first-preference votes than the Sinn Féin candidate.

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