Byline: ELAINE EDWARDS
RAPID-fire election results kept the entire country holding its breath last night as Fianna Fail continued to dismiss the possibility of an overall majority government.
Pundits and election strategists predicted a total of 83 seats for Fianna Fail, a huge drop to 32 for Fine Gael, an increase to six seats for the PDs, a total of five for Sinn Fein, 22 for Labour, one Socialist and around 11 independents.
The make-up of the next government still remained wide open last night, but Bertie Ahern will certainly lead it. It also remained to be seen if he will stick to his claim that he won't do business with Sinn Fein after the party made massive gains.
PD leader Mary Harney ruled out going back into government with Fianna Fail if the party does manage an overall majority.
Early results looked set to deliver at least 82 and possibly more seats to Fianna Fail. Just two more seats would give the party a majority in the 29th Dail.
It appeared that Fine Gael would return with as few as 32 seats, losing 20 or more, or a massive 40 per cent of those it held.
It also appeared Labour would not make the significant gains it predicted, but the party put a brave face on it last …