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Irish government parties' support falls two weeks from election: poll

Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny addresses Fine Gael candidates and supporters in Dublin, Ireland February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Support for the two parties that make up Ireland’s coalition government fell by a combined five percentage points in a poll published on Saturday, in the latest sign a general election in two week’s time may produce an inconclusive outcome.

Support for prime minister Enda Kenny’s center-right Fine Gael party fell by 3 percentage points to 28 percent in the Sunday Business Post/Red C poll, its weakest result in the poll since September.

Its center-left junior coalition partner Labour fell 2 percentage points to 8 percent, leaving the two parties on a combined 36 percent, significantly short of support needed to come close to a majority of seats.

With no obvious alternative, if the coalition parties fail to gain the added support needed or come close enough to cobble together a majority with independents or smaller parties, that may spell a period of political instability or fresh elections.

Left-wing nationalist Sinn Fein were up 3 points to 20 percent, while center-right Fianna Fail was up 1 point to 18 percent. Kenny’s Fine Gael has ruled out a coalition with either party.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Dominic Evans