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Irish PM expected to call February election – reports

DUBLIN — Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is expected to ask President Michael D. Higgins to dissolve parliament on Tuesday in order to call a February parliamentary election, 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.

Without citing any sources, the Irish Times said Varadkar was expected to tell cabinet that he is calling an election and travel to the president’s residence to get his approval to formally start the campiagn.

There was no immediate comment from a government spokesman.

A political correspondent for the Irish Examiner newspaper also reported that Varadkar would seek the dissolution of parliament on Tuesday.

The cabinet began meeting at 0900 GMT. Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone, an independent lawmaker, said on her way in that she expected it to be the last time her colleagues met ahead of a February poll.

Varadkar’s Fine Gael and the fellow center-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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