Green Party's national government call complicates Irish talks

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s Green Party called on all parties to suspend talks on forming a new administration on Wednesday and instead build a temporary national government across parliament, complicating negotiations following an inconclusive Feb. 8 election.

The rival Fianna Fail and Fine Gael parties decided on Tuesday to open coalition talks this week, saying the coronavirus outbreak had increased the urgency in forming a new government which can command a majority.

Ireland on Wednesday confirmed its first death of a patient diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael need the support of at least one other party or eight independent lawmakers in the fractured 160-seat parliament. They singled out the Greens on Tuesday saying they would talk with the party’s 12 lawmakers, however the Greens rejected the approach.

They have previously talked with both parties separately.

“The party are calling on all parties to suspend discussions on forming a majority government and work towards forming a crisis national government to be reviewed in three months,” the Green said in a statement, following a party meeting.

Acting Prime Minister Leo Varadkar ruled out the prospect of a cross-party national government this week and both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael steadfastly refuse to govern with Sinn Fein, the third of three large parties in parliament, over its role as the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army.

The IRA fought British rule in Northern Ireland for decades in a conflict in which some 3,600 people were killed before a 1998 peace deal.

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