59-year-old Micheal Martin, the leader of the centrist Fianna Fail party since 2011, was elected as the new taoiseach or Irish prime minister. A veteran politician, he has been a member of the lower house of the Irish parliament – Dail – for about three decades now. He has also served in various positions as cabinet minister in the Fianna Fail governments from 1997 to 2011.
Receiving some support from independent candidates as well, Martin was elected by a vote of 93 to 63 at a special meeting of the 160-member Irish Parliament held at the Convention Centre in Dublin. The vote could not be held at the Leinster House, Ireland’s parliament building, because of the social distancing norms related to the coronavirus pandemic.
He will also be the leader of a coalition of three political parties: Fianna Fail, its rival party Fine Gael, and the Green Party. It is for the first time in the history of Ireland that rival parties Fianna Fail and Fine Gael have formed the government together.
Martin said that one of his primary goals would be to ensure that the country recovers from the social and economic recession brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
He is expected to lead the nation until 2022, and then hand over the reins halfway through his five-year term to the outgoing Prime Minister and the leader of Fine Gael Leo Varadkar, who will now serve as the Deputy Prime Minister, along with holding the portfolio of Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan is holding the post of the Minister for transport, energy, and climate action.1