Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar resigned as leader Thursday after the country's parliament failed to select a new premier.
Varadkar told Irish President Michael Higgins he'd stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new leader is selected.
The lower house of parliament, Dáil Éireann, failed to select a new taoiseach after no single political party won enough of a majority to secure a mandate to govern in the Feb. 8 election. The center-left Sinn Fein Party won a slim lead in seats, while the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael parties each earned about 22 percent of the vote.
Fine Gael, Varadkar's party, currently leads a minority government in the wake of the election with support from Fianna Fail. Both are center-right parties.
The newly elected members of the Dáil voted on candidates to be taoiseach -- the equivalent of prime minister -- on Thursday. To win, a candidate needed to receive at least 80 votes.
Varadkar received 36 votes, while Fianna Fail's Micheal Martin won 41 votes and Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald won 45. McDonald's lead in votes was bolstered by support from lawmakers in a variety of smaller left-wing parties.
After failing to elect a new leader, the Dáil adjourned until March 5 to give party leaders time to agree on a ruling coalition.
The Dáil elected Varadkar as its first openly gay prime minister in 2017.