Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny steps down as Fine Gael leader

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny steps down as Fine Gael leader

The prime minister leads a minority government under a deal with the opposition Fianna Fail party, which has veto power over Fine Gael's decision over who to nominate as Kenny's successor.

The outgoing premier said past year that he would not lead Fine Gael into the next general election, due by 2021 at the latest.

A new leader to be announced after an electoral college of the parliamentary party, county councillors and party members have their say.

"Did his country much service", Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin, who served with Kenny in coalition until previous year, said on Twitter.

Mr Durkan said: "I was in personal contact with Enda Kenny throughout his recent judicious efforts as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement to ensure that the singular integrity of the principle of consent is sealed into the future framework for EU-UK relations".

Ireland's unemployment rate has fallen to 6.2 percent from 15.1 percent in 2012 and the government is forecasting a deficit of 0.4 percent of GDP this year.

"I will continue to carry out my duties as party leader in an acting capacity until my successor is elected", the 66-year-old said.

Germany: Merkel challenger predicts 'long, stony road' ahead
The victory for Mrs Merkel's party will now give her a boost as she seeks a fourth term in general election in September. SPD state premier Hannelore Kraft quickly conceded defeat and said she would stand down as her party's local leader.

Mr Coveney said yesterday that 20 people signed his nomination papers but last night refused to publish the list, claiming some were not willing to go public yet. He has led the Fine Gael for 15 years and is its first leader to win re-election to office.

"He understands, as he said last week, the unique circumstances of Donegal, cut off from the rest of the North for most of the last century by partition, and cut off geographically and in other ways from the rest of the State".

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin complimented Mr Kenny for bringing Ireland "back from the brink".

Ms Humphreys' vote is seen as particularly significant as her Cavan/Monaghan constituency has a large Fine Gael membership and will also help the Dublin West TD bridge the urban/rural divide. "All the money has been for Simon Coveney on Thursday morning and he is now 6/4 from 7/4 with Leo Varadkar eased to 8/15 as a result".

"Having inherited a country and an economy that was decimated by mismanagement, Enda's strong leadership and ability to make hard decisions was recognised both at home and overseas and saw our global reputation restored and strengthened".

Justice minister Frances Fitzgerald and education minister Richard Bruton may also run for the leadership. Rank-and-file members are allocated 25 percent and councilors 10 percent.

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