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Bertie says 'no chance in hell' government will be formed before Easter

The former Fianna Fáil leader also reckons the party won’t do a deal with Fine Gael.

FORMER TAOISEACH BERTIE Ahern has said he believes no government will be formed for at least another month after a strong electoral result for Fianna Fáil saw the outgoing coalition lose its majority.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are both looking to secure support from outside their parties in the vote for taoiseach once the Dáil returns on 10 March.

But Ahern told RTÉ’s Today With Sean O’Rourke today that there is “not a chance in hell” of any outcome being achieved by Easter.

“I hope people just accept that and don’t jump up and down about it,” he said.

The former Fianna Fáil leader, who oversaw three coalition governments until his resignation in 2008, said he foresees two possible arrangements coming out of the weekend’s inconclusive result.

The first solution is that a group of parties would be prepared to support a taoiseach leading a minority government, he said.

The other scenario is that a group of parties would come together to form a coalition, he said, though he added that he could not see Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael doing business.

He said he believes the first option – a model more along the lines of other European parliaments – is just as likely an outcome as the second.

Opposition parties

Ahern also said he anticipates a second election, if called, being delayed until 2017.

Politicians are tired, they’ve spent a lot of money, their workers have taken leave. They won’t want a 2016 election and I think some way will be found to make sure it’s not 2016.

However, he said other parties have a responsibility to ensure a stable government can be formed.

“Some people seem to have run in this election and only want to be in opposition,” he said.

I think they’re going to have to change their position. It’s an extraordinary thing to run and get a lot of seats and not want to have anything to do with government … That’s an odd position for any party to take.

“I don’t think the large percentage of people who voted on Friday went to the trouble of registering and going out and casting their vote … for all of this to collapse in two or three weeks,” Ahern added.

It could happen, but that’s not what people voted for.

The former taoiseach also said he believes the outgoing government should meet its travel obligations on St Patrick’s Day due to the importance of the annual trade missions to Ireland’s economy.

Liveblog: 148 down, 10 to go as recounts get under way today

More: After voters rejected him, can Enda Kenny survive?

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Catherine Healy

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