Eamon Ryan re-elected Green Party leader by skin of his teeth

Ryan wins 51.2% of poll, while challenger Catherine Martin wins 48.8% of votes

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin: result raises questions about durability of Ryan’s leadership. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin: result raises questions about durability of Ryan’s leadership. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins

 

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has won a surprisingly close leadership contest against Catherine Martin, seeing off the challenge of his deputy leader by a margin of less than 50 votes.

Mr Ryan won 994 of the 1,940 total valid poll, or 51.2 per cent, and Ms Martin won 946, or 48.8 per cent.

The narrow margin of victory took both candidates and their supporters by surprise and will pose questions about the durability of Mr Ryan’s leadership. It also reflects divisions in the party. 

He said it was too early to say if he would continue as leader for the full five-year term. Ms Martin said it was likely she would contest for the position again.

Split The result reflected the split that emerged in the party over entering government and Mr Ryan’s style of leadership. Party sources said Ms Martin received more votes from Northern members, most of whom did not vote in the poll on government.

At a press conference, Mr Ryan addressed perceptions he was malleable to other party leaders by saying: “I can play hardball too.”

He said the really close result “could have gone either way. I will reflect on that.”

Ms Martin pledged to support Mr Ryan’s leadership, asking people to “stick to Eamon” as the leader and to “stick” to the party.