March 10, 2020 / 5:34 PM / in 22 days

Ireland's Fianna Fail, Fine Gael to open government talks

DUBLIN, March 10 (Reuters) - Ireland’s Fianna Fail and Fine Gael parties decided on Tuesday to open formal coalition negotiations after an inconclusive Feb. 8 election, saying they were acutely aware of the enormous challenges brought by the coronavirus outbreak.

The historic rivals and traditionally dominant political forces have never formed a coalition government together. They will continue talks with the smaller Green Party, whose support will be needed to reach a majority in the fractured parliament, the centre-right parties said in identical statements.

“Both leaders are acutely aware of the enormous challenges facing the country particularly with the onset of COVID-19 (coronavirus). They enter the talks as equal partners determined to develop proposals which will serve the interests of the people of Ireland,” the statements said. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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