Fine Gael leadership: How this political drama will unfold

New party leader will seek support of Independents in attempt to become taoiseach

Voting to select the next Fine Gael party leader ended at noon on Friday. Photograph: The Irish Times

Voting to select the next Fine Gael party leader ended at noon on Friday. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

There are just a few hours until the next Fine Gael leader, and likely next Taoiseach, is elected. Here is how the results will be announced and a brief look at what happens next.

How will the new Fine Gael leader be elected?

Voting ended in the election at noon on Friday. The 73 members of the parliamentary party voted between 8am and midday on Friday.

Their votes count for 65 per cent of the weighted electorate.

The 21,000 members of the party, who count for a quarter of the electorate, voted between Monday May 29th and Thursday June 2nd.

So too did the 232 councillors and three Údarás na Gaeltachta members who make up the remaining 10 per cent.

The election process is being overseen by Fine Gael’s executive council and the result will be announced by the national returning officer at the Mansion House.

It will be announced in the following order: Fine Gael members; then the local representatives; the parliamentary party; and lastly the final declaration.

It is hoped the count and declaration process will be completed by 6pm, though party sources say it may sooner rather than later.

What happens then?

Once the result is announced, the loser will first make a speech followed by the victor. The victor will then hold a press conference.

He will automatically become the new Fine Gael leader, succeeding Enda Kenny who remains on as Taoiseach until the Dáil elects a new Taoiseach.

When do we get a new Taoiseach?

The Dáil does not sit next week so the new party leader will seek the support of the Independents in his bid to become taoiseach.

He will also need the support of Fianna Fáil through the party’s confidence and supply agreement.

The Independents and Fianna Fáil have stated that their agreements are with Fine Gael and not the leader. They will not oppose the election of the new Fine Gael leader as taoiseach.

What will happen to Enda Kenny?

The Taoiseach effectively stepped down from his role of party leader when he made the announcement on May 17th that he was retiring as Taoiseach.

He will accompany an Enterprise Ireland trade mission to Chicago on Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday he will attend the centenary commemorations for the Battle of Messines Ridge in Belgium, his last foreign trip as Taoiseach.

He will remain on as Taoiseach until the Dáil next sits on Tuesday, June 13th, when it is expected that his replacement will be chosen.

And the Cabinet?

There is an expectation in political circles that the new leader will reshuffle the Cabinet, with the expecation that the new taoiseach will favour those TDs who publicly declared that they were supporting him.