SINN Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said she "may well be the next Taoiseach" as she seeks to form a government with other left-wing parties and Independents.
Ms McDonald said she would talk to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael but that she was seeking to form a government without either of the two parties.
She has spoken with Labour leader Brendan Howlin and is seeking to meet with the leaders of other parties including the Greens and the Social Democrats as early as this Wednesday.
She said the ���stranglehold” of the big two is over and that the general election is "absolutely a game-changer".
She told Virgin Media News: “I mean that we cannot be absolutely definitive as to who might be the next Taoiseach and nobody should be presumptuous and feel an automatic entitlement to that office.”
But the Dublin Central TD said that any suggestion that Sinn Féin would be "excluded and left on the margins" would be "completely unacceptable".
“We won the election, we won the popular vote,” she said.
She said she hopes to sit down and talk to each "face-to-face" with party leaders on Wednesday. "At that stage we'll know what the numbers look like."
She said there was an "absolute need for a rent freeze".