Ireland votes in general elections

Dublin: Irish citizens went to the polls on Saturday to vote in the general elections.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 10 p.m. Counting of the votes will begin on Sunday in all 39 constituencies, reports the BBC.

The election is Fine Gael party leader Leo Varadkar’s first as Prime Minister or taoiseach and it is also the first time that a general election in the Republic of Ireland is being held on a Saturday.

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A total of 160 representatives will be returned to the Dail or the Lower House of Parliament, while the ceann comhairle, or speaker, is automatically re-elected.

In most situations, the speaker does not vote, so a government will need 80 Parliament members to hold a majority.

It was unlikely that any party will reach that number, so another coalition government was probable, said the BBC.

The election uses proportional representation with a single transferrable vote.

Voters write “1” opposite their first choice candidate, “2” opposite their second choice, “3” opposite their third choice and so on.

People living on 12 islands off the coasts of counties Galway, Mayo and Donegal voted on Friday.

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