Ireland’s Varadkar Places Brexit at Center of Election Campaign

Cheryl Sanders
January 15, 2020

Varadkar took over from Enda Kenny in 2017, and the election had be held by April 2021.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Tuesday called a parliamentary election for February 8, pitting his record on Brexit and Ireland's fast growing economy against struggling services in a contest polls suggest is too close to call.

"I have made a decision but there is some respective protocol around this so I would like to speak to the cabinet and the leader of the opposition", Varadkar told Irish broadcaster RTE.


Justifying the early election, the Taoiseach pointed to the Brexit situation - with the United Kingdom now set to leave the European Union at the end of the month with a deal.

"The election will be held on Saturday, February 8th", he said in a speech in Dublin, adding that he would ask President Michael Higgins to dissolve parliament.

"There will be no hard border, citizens' rights have been protected and the Common Travel Area will remain in place", he said. "We have a deal on Brexit and in many ways that was the big job of this government, our magnum opus, to secure a deal on Brexit".


Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said her party have "listened and learned" from their local election losses.

The general election will be formally called this afternoon.

"Every election is about convincing people voter by voter and there is no room for complacency".


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