Ireland votes amid austerity anger

People in the Republic of Ireland are set to vote in parliamentary elections, with Prime Minister Enda Kenny urging voters to support the Fine Gael-Labor coalition.
The Irish will cast their ballots on Friday across 40 constituencies to elect 157 MPs.

Ireland votes amid austerity anger
The parliament has 158 seats and one of them is already filled as the speaker is automatically re-elected under the country’s electoral law unless the parliament head announces a plan to retire.
Polling stations will open at 7:00 am local time and will close at 10:00 pm. Some 3.2 million people are eligible to vote.
Over 2,000 people who live on Irish islands off the coast Mayo, Galway and Donegal counties went to the polls on Thursday.
Opinion polls suggest that the ruling coalition may fall short of a majority for a second term. Rival parties have also not registered enough supports to form a new government easily.
Kenny said that his government brought Ireland “in the right direction,” adding, “What I would like to happen is that a clear signal will be given and a clear decision made by the people when they do cast their votes.
“One of the ways that they can avoid confusion and instability and the consequential dangers in that is to support the government that has been in office for the last five years.”
Gerry Adams, leader of rival Sinn Fein Party whose popularity has recently increased due to its anti-austerity stance, said the election was a challenge between “the golden circles and the people” and between austerity and equality.
The election result will not be expected until Sunday.
Ireland has adopted austerity measures in order to compensate for the 67.5-billion-euro (75.1-billion-dollar) bailout it received from the troika of international lenders – the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund – in 2010.
New policies have greatly affected the public services and increased the rate of unemployment in the European country.
Dublin also introduced new water charges recently, costing single households 160 euros (178 dollars) and others 260 euros (289 dollars) a year.
Ahead of the parliamentary elections, thousands of people took to the streets of the capital, Dublin, last Sunday to call for an end to the government’s austerity measures.