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Published: Sunday August 17, 2014 MYT 4:25:03 AM
Updated: Sunday August 17, 2014 MYT 4:26:06 AM

New leader doubles support for Irish junior government party - poll

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Support for the junior party in Ireland's coalition government has doubled following its election of a new leader, an opinion poll showed on Saturday.

Fourteen percent of the Irish electorate would vote for the left-leaning Labour party, a Sunday Times poll said, up from 7 percent in the newspaper's last poll in May.

Labour elected Joan Burton as leader last month after the party captured just 7 percent of seats in the local polls, compared with 19 percent at parliamentary elections three years ago.

The poll gives the two coalition parties - Labour and Prime Minister Enda Kenny's centre-right Fine Gael - a combined 38 percent of the vote, up from 33 percent in the May poll, but down from 55 percent in the 2011 election.

The next general election is due to take place by April 2016.

While the coalition guided Ireland out of an international bailout last year and is seeing increasing signs of economic recovery, its implementation of austerity policies has seen it lose support to both centre-right Fianna Fail, which oversaw the banking crisis, and left-wing nationalists Sinn Fein.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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