Irish PM Varadkar calls parliamentary election for February 8

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Tuesday called a parliamentary election for February 8. 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.

After Britain’s exit from the EU dominated politics in neighboring Ireland following the last election in 2016, Varadkar sought to put Brexit at the center of the campaign. He also acknowledged more had to be done for people to feel the strength of the economy in their pockets, Reuters said.

“Brexit is not done yet,” the prime minister said, adding that the next step is to negotiate a free trade agreement that “protects our jobs, our businesses, our rural communities.”