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Ireland: Leo Varadkar's successor


Leo Varadkar's recent announcement of his resignation as the Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael has shifted the attention towards the process of choosing his successor.

The statement made by Leo Varadkar indicates his intention to continue serving as a TD while expressing his desire for a prompt transition of power at the helm of the Irish government following the Easter recess.

The nominations for a new leader will commence at 10:00 local time on Thursday and conclude on Monday at 13:00.

To be considered, candidates must receive nominations from a minimum of 10% (six members) of the Parliamentary Party.

The winner's announcement, if there is a contest, is scheduled for 5 April.

This would allow them to present their arguments before the local and European elections in June.

Another pressing matter is the upcoming Irish general election, which is scheduled to occur by March of next year.

Mr Varadkar expressed his full support to his successor during a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday night.

Party colleagues appreciated Mr Varadkar's contributions, loyalty, and leadership during the meeting.

The Taoiseach expressed optimism about the potential for the next leader and the party to secure more seats in the upcoming general election.

Deputy leader Simon Coveney has already dismissed the possibility of pursuing a leadership role.

Who are the potential candidates for the position of Leo Varadkar's successor?

Helen McEntee is also likely a potential taoiseach candidate.

She entered politics at a young age, taking over her father's position after his tragic passing.

She would make history as the first woman to occupy the position if chosen.

Simon Harris TD has frequently been discussed as a potential future leader of Fine Gael.

The 37-year-old is the Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science and is considered the early favourite by many bookmakers.

He would be yet another young leader, following in the footsteps of Leo Varadkar, who assumed the role of Taoiseach at 38.

At just 24 years old, Mr Harris joined the 31st Dáil and later assumed the role of Health Minister in 2016.

He played a crucial role in overseeing the department during a significant shift in Ireland's abortion law and at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic when urgent lockdown measures were implemented.

Another name is Heather Humphreys; she has held multiple cabinet positions since 2014 and is currently the Minister for Rural and Community Development and Minister for Social Protection.

Ms Humphreys, born in the village of Drum, County Monaghan 1963, has a diverse background. Before her political career, she served as the manager of a credit union.

Speaking ahead of the Easter Rising commemorations in 2016, she expressed her understanding of the importance of respecting the diverse traditions on this island, considering her background as a Protestant and an Ulsterwoman who takes pride in her Irish republican identity.

If she became Taoiseach, she would make history as the first Protestant to hold the post.

Another candidate that could be considered is Paschal Donohoe, who currently holds the Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform position.

The 49-year-old Dubliner has experience in both finance and transport, having served as a minister in those areas.

In addition to his role as president of the Eurogroup since 2020, he has been actively involved in political affairs.

The informal body convenes ministers from the eurozone area to discuss matters about the currency.

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