As the elections in Ireland are set to be held on February 8, a poll conducted by an Irish local media outlet shows the party of Prime Minister Leo Varadkar trailing with its main rival. According to the poll, Varadkar's Fine Gael party had fallen seven percentage points to 23 per cent since its last poll in November while fellow centre-right rival Fianna Fail was up two points to 26 per cent. The poll also indicates that the few voters, however, still trust the ruling party because of its key issue relating to housing and health.
According to reports, it is the first time that Varadkar's party has fallen behind its rival in the polls. Varadkar's Fine Gael party came into power in 2017 and has been praised for its handling of Brexit negotiations and overseeing of economic growth. People also still trust the party on the issues of housing and health which has also dominated their campaign so far. The poll further reportedly suggested that Fine Gael was the best party equipped to handle Ireland's crisis over the next five years.
Other than the two trailing parties, the poll showed that the left-wing Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein was up eight points to 19 per cent in the poll and the Green party was up one point to eight per cent. However, as no party is close to the support required for a majority it is important for at least two parties to cooperate form a government.
Fine Gael is a liberal-conservative political party in Ireland. It is currently the governing and largest party in Ireland in terms of members if the Oireachtas and Irish members of the European Parliament. Its is a senior partner governing in a minority coalition with several independent politicians. Leo Varadkar is the leader and he succeeded Enda Kenny as party leader back in 2017. The party has rarely governed Ireland without a coalition that also included the Labour Party, social-democratic, centre-left party.