The 2020 Irish general election will be held on Saturday 8 February 2020. The election was called following the dissolution of the 32nd Dáil by the President, at the request of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on 14 January 2020. 159 of 160 Dáil Éireann seats will be contested, with the outgoing Ceann Comhairle being re-elected automatically.
Since May 2016, Fine Gael has led a minority government with the support of Independent TDs, including the Independent Alliance. It has relied on a confidence and supply agreement with Fianna Fáil.
On 3 December 2019, a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy proposed by Catherine Murphy for the Social Democrats was defeated, with 53 votes in favour to 56 votes against and 35 registered abstentions. On 9 January 2020, Independent TD Michael Collins called for a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Health Simon Harris. On 14 January, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar sought a dissolution of the Dáil which was granted by the president, with the 33rd Dáil to convene on 20 February at 12 noon. The election was set for Saturday 8 February.
The 160 members of Dáil Éireann will be elected by single transferable vote (STV) from 39 constituencies, each returning between three and five TDs (Dáil deputies). Voters complete a paper ballot, numbering candidates 1, 2, 3, etc. for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. preference. Ballots are sent to the constituency count centre after polls close and are counted the following morning over several rounds. In STV, each ballot is initially credited to its first-preference candidate but may be transferred on later counts to the next available preference where the first preference candidate is elected or eliminated.
Sources and further reading:
Irish general election 2020: What you need to know
Irish Times poll extra: six graphs to help you under the Election 2020 bonnet
Irish general election: Issues at the heart of Irish election campaign