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Opposition set to lead: exit poll

world Updated: Feb 26, 2011 14:31 IST

Ireland's opposition Fine Gael party is set to lead the next government after Friday's election as the ruling Fianna Fail party slumped to its lowest result ever, according to an exit poll Saturday.

Fine Gael, led by former teacher Enda Kenny, won 36.1 percent of the vote, its best since November 1982 but not enough for a parliamentary majority, according to the Millward Brown Lansdowne poll for the RTE state broadcaster.

By contrast the Fianna Fail party of Prime Minister Brian Cowen, blamed for the country's economic crash and a deeply unpopular international bailout, is on course for its worst ever general election result with 15.1 percent.

The Labour party was on 20.5 percent, which would be its best ever share of the vote in a general election if confirmed by the results expected later Saturday.