IRELAND WILL go to the polls on Saturday, 8th February, to vote on their new government, it has been confirmed today.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the date to the Cabinet this morning and is expected to ask President Michael D Higgins to dissolve the Dáil in order for politicans to begin their election campaign.
There was speculation that the date would be confirmed today as election posters for a number of politicians-- including Leo Varadkar-- were spotted being erected early this morning.
The move drew criticism, with many pointing out that the posters were being erected before the Dáil was dissolved and before the election had been officially called.
As clear a sign as you need... Taoiseach's election posters appear to be going up before official starting gun has been fired https://t.co/CXoNwfYSUF
— McConnellDaniel (@McConnellDaniel) January 14, 2020
Members of Fine Gael, which is currently in power but with a minority government, were recently asked to sign a party pledge confirming that there was nothing in their "past life" which could bring controversy to the party ahead of the election if they were intending to run for government.
The candidates were asked to confirm that they had revealed anything, including views they may have held, which goes against the party policies of Fine Gael, accoridng to The Irish Independent.
They were also asked to confirm that they had no prior convictions or pending prosecutions, with the exception of minor traffic offences.
The unusual Saturday election date has proved somewhat controversial, with some joking that primary school students and teachers would be disappointed due to usually getting the day off as the schools were used as polling booths.
However, others have pointed out that the weekend date would allow students to return home to vote in their consituency.
The last time an Irish General Election was held on a Saturday was 1918, in the aftermath of the Easter Rising, when Sinn Féin won an overwhelming majority.