Lunes, 21 Agosto, 2017

Ireland's political veteran Enda Kenny stepping down as party leader

Irish PM announces resignation as party leader | Reuters BREAKING: Enda Kenny has officially announced his resignation
Eleena Tovar | 19 May, 2017, 19:40

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny announced Wednesday he is resigning as leader of the Fine Gael party, paving the way for his replacement as the country's head of government.

The other expected candidate, Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has yet to speak to the press but will launch his campaign Website later.

Currently, a party leadership contest has officially begun.

British Prime Minister Theresa May and former Prime Minister David Cameron led tributes to Kenny, who was first elected as a TD in 1975.

"I especially want to thank my wife Fionnuala, our children, my siblings and their families for their understanding of my work, and indeed for accepting the many intrusions of politics into family life in the interest of building our country".

However, fellow local TD Fergus O'Dowd is set to give his vote to the favourite Leo Varadkar. "He is best placed to bring Fine Gael into a new era".

He explained: "It's the track record of how I've seen each of them perform across that period".

He said that Minister Varadkar has a "vision of a resilient and competitive economy" that can support a fairer Ireland.

His departure has been long anticipated after the party returned to power past year in a fragile minority coalition, which is dependent on the support of the opposition party Fianna Fail.

The current housing minister has also been in charge of several portfolios including agriculture and defense.

Paul Kehoe argued: "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". "He has all the qualities needed to lead Ireland as we face into a future of great opportunities and new risks", Mr Donohoe told RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland.

"I have many reasons why I will be supporting Leo and I know he would make an excellent leader of the Fine Gael party and an excellent leader of this country".

He announced a year ago that he would not lead Fine Gael into another election but has delayed his resignation several times in recent weeks amid discussions about Brexit in Brussels. Under Fine Gael rules the parliamentary party commands 65 per cent of the votes, with councillors getting 10 per cent and the 21,000 members 25 per cent. No one deserves it more.

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

The regional debates, or hustings, will take place in Ballinasloe, Dublin, Carlow and Cork over four days next week.