Fianna Fáil insist that only Micheál Martin can be the next Taoiseach in any potential coalition with Fine Gael
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Fianna Fáil insist that only Micheál Martin can be the next Taoiseach in any potential coalition with Fine Gael

FIANNA Fáil have reportedly told Fine Gael that they will only accept Micheál Martin as Taoiseach in any potential deal between the two parties to form the next government.

Outgoing Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar is due to meet with Martin on Tuesday to discuss forming a coalition, but it's understood that Fianna Fáil have already taken the idea of a 'rotating Taoiseach' off the table before negotiations have been begun.

Fine Gael have viewed the move as 'very arrogant', and have warned their potential colleagues that such demands will potentially scupper the prospect of meaningful talks between the two this week.

"Fianna Fáil is behaving like it won the election, planning for a government led by Micheál Martin, while demanding that Fine Gael must change its policies. It’s hard to see any basis for meaningful talks this week if Micheál Martin takes a similar approach when he meets the taoiseach," a senior Fine Gael source told the Irish Examiner.

"Fine Gael could only participate on the basis that there is respect for the 450,000 votes that Fine Gael received and the policies they voted for," the source added.

"That would have to be recognised in the composition of any programme for government and the composition of the government. We won 35 seats and are one of three roughly equal medium-sized parties in the Dáil. Our mandate is as valid as anyone else’s."

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Varadkar announced that he would be stepping down as leader following a vote in the Dáil to nominate the next Taoiseach.

The vote, as expected, ended in deadlock, with no one candidate able to garner the 80 votes needed to get the nod.

But it was Varadkar's poor vote count, fresh off the back of a disappointing general election result which prompted the 41-year-old to announce his resignation.

In the meantime, he will continue as Taoiseach in a caretaker role until a new government is formed.