Ball in 78-seat Fianna Fáil's court as counting finishes

The counting of votes in general election 2007 is now complete.

John Moloney of Fianna Fáil took the last of the remaining 166 seats in the constituency of Laois/Offaly in the early hours of this morning.

The final state of the parties is: Fianna Fáil 78; Fine Gael 51; Labour 20; Greens 6; Sinn Féin 4; and Others 5.

The big losers though were the PD's who retained just two of their eight seats.

The outgoing Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is now five seats short of an overall majority and has a number of options to work on in order to form a government.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny refused to rule out the possibility of an alternative coalition with Labour the Greens and Independents but the ball is firmly in Ahern's court.

He can opt to offer Mary Harney the Health portfolio again to secure the two PD seats and then negotiate a deal with the Independents.

Jackie Healy-Rae and Beverly Flynn come from FF stock and Tony Gregory and Finian McGrath are also possibilities.

Mr Ahern could also opt to go with either the Greens or the Labour Party but the price of such a deal would be much higher.


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