Europe

Irish election: Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil talks over government 'constructive and cordial'

Enda Kenny Image copyright PA
Image caption Enda Kenny said a "new way of doing politics" was needed to provide stable government

The Republic of Ireland's two biggest political parties have held "constructive and cordial" talks about forming a new government.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil negotiators met at Dublin's Leinster House on Monday for discussions that lasted for about 90 minutes.

They are set to meet again on Tuesday.

The country is without a government after February's general election left no party with enough seats to govern alone.

Fine Gael, led by Enda Kenny, remains the largest party with 50 seats.

But Micheál Martin's Fianna Fáil made significant gains at the polls and now hold 44 seats.

Last week, Fianna Fáil rejected an offer of a partnership government with its rival Fine Gael.

Mr Kenny said on Monday that a "new way of doing politics" was needed to "provide a stable and lasting government".

"The new political reality following the election is difficult for all political parties, including my own," he said.

"The complex decision given by the people requires a different kind of answer, a different kind of response, a big, bold response in the sense of the issues that we face up ahead."

He added that he hoped parties' negotiating teams would deliver a government in the national interest.

The meeting came after exploratory talks between the two parties at the weekend.

The Irish parliament is set to reconvene on Thursday, when members are due to vote to elect a taoiseach, or prime minister, for a third time since the election.

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