Ireland's governing coalition led by outgoing Prime Minister Enda Kenny may have lost its overall majority in parliament, according to an exit poll released after voting ended in Friday's election.
The Irish Times exit poll gave Kenny's Fine Gael 26.1 per cent and its coalition partner Labour 7.8 per cent.
The results would be a sharp drop from the 2011 elections when Fine Gael won 36.1 per cent and Labour 19.5 per cent, and would mean that the coalition loses its overall majority in parliament.
The poll surveyed over 5,000 voters at 200 polling stations throughout the country.
The second-biggest party was opposition Fianna Fail with 22.9 per cent, while Gerry Adams' Sinn Fein - the former political arm of the IRA - won 14.9 per cent of the vote, according to the poll conducted by Ipsos MRBI.
Some 3.1 million people were eligible to elect 157 members to the 32nd Dail, or lower house of parliament.
Under Ireland's electoral system of proportional representation with a single transferable vote, counts can take a long time, and final official results may not be available until late Saturday.
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