Ireland's Prime Minister and leader of the Fine Gael party party Leo Varadkar cast his vote on the outskirts of Dublin. (Photo: AFP)
DUBLIN, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The newly formed lower house of the Irish parliament failed to elect a new prime minister for the country during its first sitting held here on Thursday, reported Irish national radio and television broadcaster RTE.
None of the candidates nominated by the country's four largest political parties won the minimum required quota of the votes from all the 160 members of the lower house, who participated in Thursday's voting, said the report.
According to the report, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald won 45 votes, ranking the highest among the four candidates, followed by 41 votes for Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, 36 votes for Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, and 12 votes for Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.
The newly elected chair of the lower house of the Irish parliament Sean O Fearghail announced an adjournment till March 5 when another round of voting for the country's prime minister will be called.
Following the conclusion of Thursday's meeting of the lower house, outgoing Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar paid a visit to the official residence of the Irish president where he is expected to tender his resignation, said the report.
According to Irish laws, Varadkar will continue to exercise his duty as a caretaker prime minister of the country after his resignation until a new prime minister is elected, it said.
Irish President Michael D. Higgins is mostly likely to accept Varadkar's resignation later on Thursday night, said RTE.
According to Irish laws, once a new prime minister is elected by the lower house and approved by the president, he or she is required to form a government that must win the support from over half of the members of the lower house. If he or she fails to form a government, a new general election will be called, said local watchers.
Earlier on Thursday afternoon, Sean O Fearghail has been re-elected as chair of the lower house of the Irish parliament by winning 130 votes while his sole competitor, Denis Naughten, an independent member of the lower house, received 28 votes.