Sinn Fein, a left-wing nationalist party, has won the popular vote in Ireland’s general election. Receiving 24.5% of the vote, Sinn Fein disrupted a duopoly of center-right parties that have historically controlled the Republic of Ireland. Opposition parties Fianna Fail and Fine Gael received 22.2% and 20.9% of the vote respectively. Once the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), Sinn Fein focused its 2020 campaign on issues of healthcare and housing.
Sinn Fein’s victory in the general election indicates that Ireland is effectively now a three-party system, which could cause difficulties in forming a coalition government. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have traditionally taken turns in power since the foundation of the Republic in 1922 and both are reluctant to form a coalition with Sinn Fein. A major political goal of Sinn Fein is to reunite Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. After this victory, Sinn Fein hopes to prepare a unity referendum that it would push London to hold within five years. Opponents of Sinn Fein say its high-spending promises and pledge to increase taxes on the wealthy would discourage foreign multinationals that employ one-in-ten Irish workers.