32nd Dail meets for the first time this morning to vote for new Taoiseach

As no party has a majority, and there’s no indication of a coalition partnership being created, the chances of a new Taoiseach being elected today are slim to none.

Outgoing members of the previous government say it may take up to two months to form a new administration or we may have to have another election before the summer.

An unthinkable union between old Civil War foes Fine Gael and Fianna Fail would seem to be the only show in town at present.

Three nominees are to be put forward for Taoiseach; outgoing leader Enda Kenny, Fianna Fail’s Micheal Martin, and Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams.

With no-one likely to win a majority, Mr Kenny will then visit President Michael D Higgins in Aras an Uachtarain where he will either resign or ask for the Dail to be dissolved, sparking a second election in just over a month.

Discussions have already taken place between Fine Gael ministers and groups on the opposition benches in the weeks since the election but the numbers available are not enough to form a stable government.

The Constitution provides for the outgoing Taoiseach and Government ministers to remain in office until the new cabinet is agreed.

There is no time limit on how long caretaker roles can be held but one anomaly is that all ministers must have retained their seats in an election, meaning several positions at the table need to be replaced.

Today’s proceedings will also include the election of a Ceann Comhairle. It will be the first time this role is decided by secret ballot.

Five candidates are in the running for CC; Andrew Doyle and Bernard Durkan (FG), Seán Ó Fearghaíl (FF), Caoimhghín Ó Kaolin (SF), and Independent Maureen O’Sullivan.

Last night, Taoiseach Enda Kenny proposed that the incoming Ceann Comhairle will chair a new all party committee on Dáil reform.

The first business of the new Ceann Comhairle will be to seek nominations for the position of Taoiseach.