Irish premier expected to call for a general election on February 8th

PUBLISHED: 11:53 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:53 14 January 2020

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) and prime mnister Boris Johnson in the Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) and prime mnister Boris Johnson in the Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire.

Irish premier Leo Varadkar is expected to call for a general election on February 8th.

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Speculation has grown after pictures emerged early on Tuesday of staff erecting campaign posters of Varadkar in his constituency before the Dail had been dissolved, or the Taoiseach had visited the president.

It is understood Varadkar will visit Aras an Uachtarain later in the day seeking a dissolution of the 32nd Dail from President Michael D Higgins,

Fianna Fail TD Thomas Byrne said the move was: "Taoiseach doing what he does best - playing games."

Over the weekend, the Taoiseach told RTE Radio One that he had decided on the date for the election, but said protocol prevented him from revealing the date.

Media speculation about the date of the election reached fever pitch over the last week, as the Fine Gael-led minority administration was made aware they had lost the support of key votes in the chamber, and Fianna Fail stated they would not support the government in an expected no-confidence motion in minister for health Simon Harris.

The election is widely predicted to hang on two major issues, health and housing, as the state continues to battle its worst ever housing crisis, and hospital overcrowding reached record-breaking levels last year.

Another issue that has been flagged in the timing of the election is that thousands of people may not be registered to vote, as a new register for 2020 will not become valid until February 15.

The register is currently only in draft status.

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