Dublin, February 28: Ireland’s health minister has conceded that the governing coalition had failed to win re-election, as early indications showed support for both Fine Gael and its junior partner Labour had slumped.

“The people have clearly decided not to re-elect this government and have given my party and the Labour party a very serious drubbing,” health minister Leo Varadkar, who belongs to the Fine Gael party of prime minister Enda Kenny, said yesterday.(ALSO READ: Ireland faces prospect of deadlock; tight vote projected by exit polls).

“I don’t think that the obligation to form a government necessarily falls on us automatically,” he told RTE television, suggesting that opposition parties could also negotiate to see if they could form a viable government.