Fine Gael reveal plans for leadership election

Voting is to take place across several days

Fine Gael reveal plans for leadership election

Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party Martin Heydon addressing the media with his colleagues outside Government Buildings | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Fine Gael party has revealed details of its leadership campaign and upcoming election.

Two of the front-runners to replace Enda Kenny - Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar - are already garnishing support from party members.

For the first time, the new leader will be elected by an electoral college voting system.

The party says this will "result in the largest single party political election since the foundation of the State".

The process will be overseen by Fine Gael's Executive Council. The chairman of the council, Gerry O'Connell, has been appointed the National Returning Officer.

Before any votes are cast, there will be four regional debates in Dublin, Carlow, Ballinasloe and Cork.

These will be held between May 25th and 28th, which people can watch on the Fine Gael Facebook page.

The Executive Council has also agreed the nomination procedure: nominations will close at 5.00pm on Saturday May 20th.

The voting process

Candidates must be nominated by at least 10% (e.g. eight members) of the Parliamentary Party comprised of TDs, Senators and MEPs.

They will be required to sign a 'Code of Conduct', which will be binding on all candidates and govern their behaviour for the duration of the election.

They will also have to sign a Data Protection Agreement for use of the Fine Gael leadership election voting register, which contains party membership details.

Voting for almost 21,000 party members will take place from Monday May 29th to Thursday June 1st.

Party members must be affiliated for at least two years to be eligible to vote. The Parliamentary Party will meet and vote in Dublin on Friday June 2nd.

All votes will be brought to a national count centre in Dublin, where they will be will be counted under the supervision of the National Returning Officer.

Votes will be weighted in accordance with the Fine Gael electoral college rules.

This will see 73 members of the Parliamentary Party accounting for 65% of the total vote, almost 21,000 party members accounting for 25% and 235 local representatives accounting for the remaining 10% of the vote.

The result will be announced at the Dublin count centre on Friday June 2nd.