Voting underway in Ireland

epa08193249 (L-R) Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar and Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald, with hosts Miriam O'Callaghan and David McCullagh, during the final TV leaders' debate at the RTE studios in Donnybrook, Dublin, Ireland, 04 February 2020. The Irish electorate will go to the poll this 08 February. EPA-EFE/Niall Carson / POOL

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Voting is under way in the General Election with polling stations across the country remaining open until 10pm. (GMT)

There are 515 candidates running in 39 constituencies while 3.4 million citizens are eligible to vote.

Counting will begin on Sunday in all 39 constituencies. Newly elected TDs will gather on 20 February for the 33rd Dáil (Irish parliament).

A total of 160 representatives will be returned to the Dáil. The ceann comhairle, or speaker, is automatically re-elected.

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

Ireland was among first to declare climate emergency but health and housing take priority at ballot box, contrary to primary indications that this was going to be a ‘climate election.’

It is unlikely that any party will reach that number, so another coalition government is probable.

The election uses proportional representation with a single transferrable vote.

RTÉ / BBC

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