March 30, 2016 / 8:52 PM / 3 years ago

Ireland's Green party pulls out of government talks

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland’s Green party on Wednesday pulled out of two sets of talks being led by the country’s two major parties who are separately trying to form a minority government following an inconclusive parliamentary election last month.

The Greens’ two members of parliament, together with 15 independent lawmakers, have been in talks with the two rival parties who each want to get closest to a majority before seeking the other’s consent to allow it to govern.

“We have decided to withdraw from discussions on the drafting of a partnership agreement for a minority government. We do not believe it would have the necessary numbers to provide a stable administration,” Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said in a statement.

“We commend Fine Gael for conducting the talks in a positive fashion. We did, however, feel that there were significant differences between ourselves and other participants on a variety of critical policy issues for our country.”

The Greens, junior partner in the 2007-2011 government, were the only party not to have ruled out supporting a government led by caretaker Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s Fine Gael or fellow center-right party Fianna Fail.

Even if Kenny wins the support of all 15 independents ahead of the next vote to elect a prime minister, expected on April 6, his depleted party of 50 deputies would still fall well short of the 79 needed for a majority. That would leave it reliant on Fianna Fail, which holds 43 seats.

The two historic rivals - who are strongly resistant to a formal coalition - have yet to discuss the prospect of any informal arrangement.

Senior members of both parties said on Wednesday that the independents would first have to decide whom to back before they would consider speaking to one another.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Gareth Jones

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