LEO VARADKAR’s election nightmare went from bad to worse after he became the first sitting Taoiseach in Irish history not to top the poll in his own constituency.
The Irish Premier suffered humiliation on the night after Sinn Fein’s Paul Donnelly secured top spot in the constituency of Dublin West.
Under the Irish electoral system rules, three to five parliamentarians are elected in each constituency via a transferable voting system.
Some of Varadkar’s blushes were eventually spared when he was later elected on a fifth count.
By then videos had begun circulating on social media of the Taoiseach suffering at the hands of the Irish electorate.
Journalist Rob O’Hanrahan was among those to witness the scene, posting a video online of the moment Varadkar discovered he had not been elected on the second count in Dublin West.
— Rob O'Hanrahan (@RobOHanrahan) February 9, 2020
While the final results are still being counted, Sinn Féin is on course to secure the most first preference votes with 24.5%.
Fianna Fáil is polling at 22.2% while Fine Gael are on 20.9%.
It’s a situation that leaves no one single party with enough seats for an outright majority.
Mr Varadkar repeatedly ruled out the idea of forming a coalition government with Sinn Féin during the election campaign and his stance remains the same.
He expects Fine Gael to win close to 40 seats but stressed to Newstalk that the party won that share “on the basis that we would not be forming a coalition with Sinn Féin.”
“Nobody can be forced into some sort of forced marriage or forced coalition,” he said.
“In order to form a government together, you have to have roughly the same views around the courts and the criminal justice system; around how the economy and society should be run and also how democracy should function.
“That is what makes my party Fine Gael not compatible with Sinn Féin.”