Varadkar leads Coveney in Fine Gael leadership campaign

Dublin Minister ahead of Cork Cabinet colleague by 6% among TDs, Senators, Councillors

With Enda Kenny stepping down as Fine Gael leader, the frontrunners to become the next leader of the party are Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar. Fiach Kelly describes what sets them apart.


Fine Gael leadership tracker: see who’s backing who

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar is ahead of Minister for Housing Simon Coveney at the outset of the Fine Gael leadership campaign.

According to The Irish Times Fine Gael leadership tracker, Mr Varadkar starts the campaign with 20 per cent of the available votes among TDs, Senators, MEPs and Councillors. Mr Coveney has 14 per cent of the available votes among TDs, Senators, MEPs and Councillors.

The tracker, which will run for the next three weeks, will lay out the support of all TDs, Senators, MEPs and Councillors as they declare for various candidates in the leadership race.

Listen to Inside Politics

Leadership tracker

The parliamentary party of TDs, Senators and MEPs accounts for 65 per cent of the vote in the leadership race, with Councillors accounting for 10 per cent. The remaining 25 per cent is allocated to party members, who will not be included in the leadership tracker because it would prove too difficult to prove.

At the moment, only Mr Coveney and Mr Varadkar are included since they are the only declared candidates deemed certain of getting the required eight nominations. This includes the confirmed support of seven TDs for Mr Coveney and 15 for Mr Varakdar. Among Senators, the count so far is six for Mr Coveney and four for Mr Varadkar.

Others are undecided or have yet to declare.

Of 230 Councillors around the country, support is evenly balance of those to declare so far. The Irish Times has placed 50 in Mr Varadkar’s camp with 43 supporting Mr Coveney. While the vast majority of the 93 have confirmed who they are supporting, The Irish Times has estimated a small number of others.

The remaining number of councillors have either yet to declare or are undecided. If another candidate secures the required eight signatures to enter the race, they will be added to The Irish Times Fine Gael leadership tracker.