Irish PM to call Feb 8 national election – reports

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FILE PHOTO: Ireland’s Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar arrives at the launch of the FemFest conference in Dublin, Ireland, November 25, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will ask President Michael D. Higgins to dissolve parliament on Tuesday in order to call a parliamentary election on Feb. 8, local media reported.

Varadkar said on Sunday he had made a decision on the timing of a general election but would meet his cabinet on Tuesday first and speak to the leader of the main opposition party before ending the uncertainty.

Varadkar told his ministers that he would travel to the president’s residence to get his approval to formally start the campaign and hold the poll on Feb. 8, the Irish Times and national broadcaster RTE reported.

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone, an independent lawmaker, said on her way into the cabinet meeting that she expected it to be the last time her colleagues met ahead of a February poll.

Varadkar’s Fine Gael and the fellow centre-right Fianna Fail are closely matched in opinion polls, and some distance ahead of their other rivals, increasingly the likelihood that one of the two parties with similar policies on the economy and Brexit will lead another minority administration.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin, Editing by William Maclean

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