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Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# three-horse race
Your choice for next Taoiseach? Leo and Simon both ahead of Micheál Martin
A new Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Poll for makes interesting reading for Fine Gael members.

statista Charted by Statista Charted by Statista

ENDA KENNY HAS confirmed he intends to step down as Fine Gael party leader and Taoiseach.

When this will happen remains unclear.

However, that hasn’t stopped his likely successors subtly (or not so subtly) campaigning for the top job.

Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar were the early frontrunners with both deputies acknowledging their ambition to lead the party – and the country.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald was slower out of the blocks but has since said she is giving the idea of entering the race ‘serious consideration’. But the number of crises she is currently battling in her department have held her back.

In a new Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Poll for, the Dublin TD is lagging well behind her Fine Gael colleagues.

We asked more than 1,000 adults who they would prefer to be the next Taoiseach: Micheál Martin or Frances Fitzgerald. The Fianna Fáil leader came out on top by a large margin of 64% to 36%.

However, it was the only victory for Martin in the survey.

The Corkman’s popularity does not compete with that of Varadkar and Coveney.

When asked the same question, respondents chose Coveney over Martin, 54% to 46%; while Varadkar had an even healthier lead of 57% to 43%.

That might make happy reading for some Fine Gael members but there are a lot more factors to consider as whoever the new leader is prepares for a general election.

According to reports this week, the parliamentary party said no reforms will be undertaken until the leadership issue is sorted.

Once Kenny resigns, the leadership contest will take up to 20 days. Candidates will be nominated in writing by members representing at least 10% of the parliamentary party.

An electoral college system – made up of parliamentary party members (TDs, senators, and MEPs), members of the party (people who are registered with the party) and public representatives, such as councillors – is used by Fine Gael to determine the eventual winner after a vote.

Each group has a different voting weight:

  • Parliamentary party – 65%
  • Party membership – 25%
  • Public representatives – 10%

When all this will happen is, for now, Enda’s Choice.

The polls were all taken ahead of this week’s sign-off of the report on water charges by a special Oireachtas committee.

With reporting by Christina Finn. 

Related: The contenders for the Fine Gael leadership, ranked from most to least likely

More: ‘Official Ireland has destroyed the lives of every person who’s come forward’ – Banking whistleblower testifies to Oireachtas

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