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Ireland: Left wing Populist Party won general election

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Sinn Fein, the left-wing Irish nationalist party, has won the popular vote in a general election, with the one-time political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) disrupting a duopoly of centre-right parties which have historically controlled the Republic.

Ballot counts on Sunday revealed that after all 39 constituencies across Ireland were tallied, Sinn Fein received 24.5 percent of the first preference vote, almost doubling its share from the last election in 2016.

It outstripped the opposition Fianna Fail party, which won 22.2 percent, as well as incumbent Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s governing Fine Gael party’s 20.9 percent.

Ireland operates on a single transferable vote system and Sinn Fein ran a slate of just 42 candidates for the 159 seats contested, meaning its strong performance may not result in it becoming the biggest party in Ireland’s next Parliament.

But its leaders, who campaigned on issues of healthcare and housing, celebrated the victory

An exit poll put Sinn Fein comfortably ahead with voters aged 18-24 and 25-34, with support at 32 percent in each age bracket.

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