Feb 9, 2020 - World

Sinn Féin, formerly linked to IRA, virtually ties for first in Irish elections

Sinn Féin party supporters holding the Irish flag, Dublin, Feb. 9. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

Ireland's three most popular parties — Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin — each received around 22% of the vote in Saturday's parliamentary elections, according to exit polling reported by AP.

Why it matters: Since no party is projected to win enough seats to govern, someone will likely have to form a coalition.

  • Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have criticized Sinn Féin's ability to lead because of its links to the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), a nationalist paramilitary organization that sought freedom from British rule in Northern Ireland through violence from 1968 to 1998, a period known as "The Troubles."
  • Sinn Féin is a powerful force in Northern Ireland, but it has historically been a minor player in the Irish Republic — until this year, when its left-wing policies helped attract young and urban voters.

What they're saying: Fianna Fáil’s leader, Micheál Martin, said Sinn Féin was not fit to govern because “they have not cleansed themselves of their bloody past," according to AP.

  • Mary Lou McDonald, leader of Sinn Féin, condemned the IRA's actions as “barbaric.”

The big picture, via Axios' Dave Lawler: Ireland's economy has boomed as the country has opened its arms to global giants like Google, but inequality has grown and housing has become more scarce.

  • Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, a centrist who won international praise for his adept handling of Brexit negotiations and debates on sensitive social issues, is in danger of losing his job.

Methodology: The exit poll was based on 5,376 interviews conducted immediately after people voted at 250 polling stations. It has a margin of error of ± 1 percentage point.

Go deeper

Israeli court sets date of Netanyahu corruption trial

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust is set to begin on March 17 at the district court in Jerusalem, the court announced today.

Why it matters: Netanyahu's trial will begin two weeks after the March 2 elections, likely in the middle of efforts to form a new government.

Go deeperArrowFeb 18, 2020 - World

Netanyahu's party on course to win Israel's election: exit polls

Netanyahu campaigns in Tel Aviv, Feb. 29. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party is projected to win the most seats in Israel's election, according to exit polls. All three updated polls show his right-wing bloc with 59 seats, two short of a majority.

Why it matters: The exit polls are not official results, but they project a strong performance from Netanyahu in Israel's third elections in 10 months despite a looming corruption trial. Both Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, his centrist rival, failed to form coalition governments following elections in April and September.

Go deeperArrowMar 2, 2020 - World

Google HR chief exiting amid employee tensions

Photo: Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Eileen Naughton, Google's head of human resources, is stepping down from her role this year to take on a different, New York-based job at the search giant, the company told Fortune and confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Naughton's move comes amid a long period of employee tensions over issues ranging from Google's handling of sexual harassment to its work on controversial projects to its policies for contractors. Meanwhile, its headcount has doubled since 2016, adding 70,000 employees in that period.