Irish PM to step down, succession contest begins
- Author: Leroy Wright May 18, 2017,
May 18, 2017, 0:15
The Fine Gael Press Office told JOE that the parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday, which takes place at 5.30pm, has been described as a "regular meeting".
A new leader will be announced on Friday, June 2.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stated that he wants to accompany Enterprise Ireland on a trip to the USA next month, adding fuel to the ever-burning fire about his resignation as leader.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Wednesday he would step down as leader of his party and the country, leaving it to his successor to try to minimize any damage caused by the departure of its neighbor, the United Kingdom, from the European Union. He was due to step down at midnight to become acting party leader until a successor is chosen.
He has overseen Ireland's turnaround from entering a humiliating three-year state bailout, just months before he came to power, to becoming Europe's fastest-growing economy for the past three years.
Colleagues are counting on a new leader reviving their fortunes after falling marginally behind rivals Fianna Fail in most surveys.
Some local media have dubbed it a contest between "the work horse or show horse". It said 13 backed Coveney.
If the two parties can not agree, it would trigger national elections and Kenny would stay in office as head of a caretaker government.
The Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar is the 2/5 favourite to succeed Mr Kenny as party leader, while one time favourite, Housing Minister Simon Coveney is the 7/4 second favourite.
In his statement Mr Kenny said he will remain as Taoiseach until June 2nd.
"I would like to pay tribute to the Taoiseach for his dedication and service to his country and party over many, many years".