Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny stepping down

20 May, 2017, 00:40 | Author: Evan Mason
  • Irish PM announces resignation as party leader | Reuters

Fine Gael are planning to hold their Longford Fine Gael selection convention next month after Enda Kenny's successor as party leader is announced.

Kenny, prime minister since 2011 and leader of his party for nearly 15 years, is expected to be replaced by either Leo Varadkar, the social protection minister, or Simon Coveney, the housing minister.

Minister of State Michael Ring and Taoiseach Enda Kenny have yet to announce who they are backing in the contest.

"As the political landscape continues to shift, at home and overseas, his forthright style and ability to effect change makes him the best-placed candidate to deal with the challenges facing us".

The decision comes following a disappointing General Election result past year, which saw Kenny's party fail to secure a majority in the Irish Parliament and criticisms about the way in which he has handled a police scandal.

Varadkar's main rival for the leadership is set to be the 44-year-old Housing Minister, Simon Coveney.

The Mayo TD was first elected to the Dáil in 1975, and he made his announcement in a statement this afternoon at a meeting of the parliamentary party this evening.

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Sarah Bardon from the Irish Times political staff says despite Leo Varadkar's lead, the race isn't over yet.

But at a parliamentary election past year, Fine Gael suffered a backlash from voters who felt the recovery was passing them by.

"His whole adult life has been devoted to public service and his personal integrity has never been questioned, even by his most ardent opponents", she said.

"I will continue to carry out my duties as Party Leader in an acting capacity, until my successor is elected through the Fine Gael Leadership election process".

As the leadership contest enters its second day more members of the parliamentary party, including a number of other senior ministers, are due to indicate who they are supporting in the contest.

As to the future Cllr Mulhall said the party has "two good candidates" in Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney and there was talk of a third candidate.

Rank-and-file members are allocated 25 percent and councilors 10 percent.

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