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02nd Jun 2017

The votes are in and Leo Varadkar is the new Fine Gael leader

The Fine Gael leadership race has been decided.


We have a winner.

Leo Varadkar has been announced as the new leader of the Fine Gael parliamentary party following a count which took place on Friday in the Mansion House, Dublin. The news was announced shortly before 6:30pm.

The votes were weighted in accordance with the Fine Gael electoral college rules, with the 73 members of the Parliamentary Party accounting for 65% of the total vote.

Almost 21,000 party members account for 25% of the vote and 235 local representatives (232 councillors and 3 Údarás na Gaeltachta members) make up the remaining 10%.

Outgoing Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, wished both candidates well and in a statement said:

“I remember this day almost 15 years ago & the sense of excitement & possibility.”

“I pledge my full support to whoever is elected, in the important work at Govt (sic) level, to which the new leader will have to dedicate their life in service of the people of this great Republic. My enduring belief in the potential of this country is boundless,” he concluded.

Simon Coveney did extremely well in the grassroots vote, which is voted for by party members, gathering 65% of the tally compared to Varadkar’s 35% with a turnout 10,842.

However, Coveney knew that he would have to reduce Varadkar’s parliamentary party votes from 46 to 40 in order to win the contest outright.

Coveney entered the Mansion House in Dublin shortly before 5:45pm on Friday evening to a rapturous applause and claimed that the leadership contest was not over just yet.

Both sides predicted a fairly even split in the votes of councillors but the tally swung in the favour of Varadkar who got 123 votes compared to Coveney’s 100 with 12 councillors not taking part in the vote.

This was followed by the big count of the 73 members of the Parliamentary Party. Coveney needed 33 to win although Varadkar had 46 committed to him before the count.

As expected, it was too much of a long shot for Coveney.

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