Gerry Adams has insisted the forthcoming general election was not simply a beauty contest between Labour and Fine Gael.
The Sinn Fein leader said his party would enter a coalition as part of a root and branch reform of the political system.
Although Labour leader Eamon Gilmore ruled out a pact with Sinn Fein, Mr Adams signalled he would be willing to do a deal to get into power.
"When you can do business with Ian Paisley, you can do business with anyone," he said.
Mr Adams said no political party had a mandate yet to lead the next government and it would be down to the electorate to decide who has the numbers to form an administration.
Attacking Labour for acting like there was a "done deal", he said it was not a beauty contest between Mr Gilmore and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.
Mr Adams also claimed that if Labour put Fine Gael back into government it would be a slightly different version of the current Fianna Fail/Green Party coalition.
"This election needs to be about a root and branch reform of our political, economic and social systems or at least the beginning of a process," he told RTE Radio.
On Tuesday Mr Gilmore ruled out forming a coalition with either Sinn Fein or Fianna Fail, adding it was not in the country's interest to have a government made up of minority parties on the edge of politics.
The Labour leader said the general election will be about who is the next Taoiseach: himself or Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny. Mr Gilmore said it was the first opportunity in the history of the State for a government led by a party other than Fianna Fail or Fine Gael.