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Irish PM Varadkar says new govt can be formed in next 2 weeks

Irish PM Varadkar says new govt can be formed in next 2 weeks

Acting Irish PM Leo Varadkar said on Wednesday it would be possible to form a new government in the next two weeks, returning the focus to negotiations that have been sidelined by the outbreak of coronavirus.

Varadkar's Fine Gael agreed two weeks ago to step up talks with rivals Fianna Fail following the February 8 election, but emergency measures to fight the health and economic crisis have taken precedence as confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 1,329, Reuters said.

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have 37 and 35 seats respectively in the 160-seat parliament, which is sitting only intermittently, meaning they need the support of at least one smaller party or group of independent lawmakers to reach a majority.

“We’re not there yet. We continue to negotiate with Fianna Fail,” Varadkar told reporters. “We’d hope to get to the point where we can then approach other parties to see whether they are willing to form part of that new government.”