The Irish Republic is on the brink of another constitutional crisis, with the country’s two largest parties calling for a snap election.
The parties have not ruled out calling another vote, but the prospect of a snap vote seems to be making them uneasy.
The Republic has been in a state of political emergency since November 2016, when the country voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU and seek an exit from the bloc.
The European Commission and European Parliament have been working on the implementation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the Brexit divorce bill.
The Irish Government had to put forward legislation that would allow it to exit the EU, which was blocked by the British government in Parliament.
The two main parties are in a race to form the next government and the prospect that a snap poll could trigger a constitutional crisis has raised concerns among politicians and business leaders.
The Constitutional Convention was set up in February 2017 and the convention has been working to agree a new constitution for the Republic, which could be introduced by the end of this month.
It is not clear whether the two parties would allow a referendum on whether to leave the EU.
“We are on the verge of another Constitutional crisis,” said one senior figure in the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the main opposition party.
“The DUP is the largest party in the House of Commons and it would be a disaster for the republic if we were forced to vote on whether we want to remain in the European Union.”
The DUP is also opposed to a second independence referendum.
“I think it’s a mistake for a vote on independence to be held, if the people want to vote for Brexit,” the DUP leader, Michael Higgins, said.
In a speech to the constitutional convention, the Irish Government’s minister for finance, Brendan Howlin, also said he was “not confident” about a vote.
“What we are saying is we will do everything we can to avoid a second referendum and the vote will be held if the public demand it,” Mr Howlin said.
The Irish Independent is not endorsing the vote but will provide further coverage on the situation.
More: Irish prime minister on Brexit: ‘I do not believe it’s fair to give up’The Irish Government, however, has been trying to push ahead with preparations for Brexit.
The Government has said the EU-wide deal to curb migration would not be cancelled, but would be kept in place until the end and that there would be no changes to the Irish customs system.
The EU has said it is ready to negotiate the terms of the withdrawal deal, but has said a referendum is needed.
The Taoiseach has said there would have to be “an absolute change” in the Irish border if the Government was to leave, but is likely to be challenged in court.