The process for electing the next Leader of Fine Gael is defined in Rule 49 of the Fine Gael Constitution and Rules.
The entire election process will be overseen by Fine Gael’s Executive Council.
Gerry O’Connell, Chairman of the Executive Council, has been appointed the National Returning Officer.
The Fine Gael Executive Council has this evening (Thursday) agreed the nomination procedure for candidates.
Nominations close three days after the leadership vacancy is announced, in this case, at 5pm on Saturday 20thMay.
Candidates must be nominated by at least 10% (eight members) of the Parliamentary Party (PP) comprised of TDs, Senators and MEPs.
Candidates will be required to sign a ‘Code of Conduct’ as agreed by Executive Council. This code will be binding on all leadership election candidates and governs their behaviour for the duration of the leadership election. An Ethics and Election Committee has been established to ensure compliance with this code of conduct.
Candidates will also be required to sign a Data Protection Agreement which will govern the use of the Fine Gael leadership election voting register which comprises of party membership details.
For the first time, the new Leader will be elected by an Electoral College voting system. This will result in the largest single party political election since the foundation of the State.
Before any votes are cast there will be four regional debates, or hustings, taking place in Dublin, Carlow, Ballinasloe, Cork.
The dates and locations of these events are as follows:
· Thursday, May 25: Red Cow Hotel, Dublin.
· Friday, May 26: Barrow Centre, IT Carlow.
· Saturday, May 27: Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe, Co Galway.
· Sunday, May 28: Clayton Hotel Silver Springs, Cork.
People can watch the debates live on the Fine Gael Facebook page facebook.com/FineGael.
Voting for almost 21,000 eligible party members will take place nationwide at 26 polling stations on Monday 29thMay, Tuesday 30th May, Wednesday 31st May and Thursday 1st June.
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, 2nd June.
All votes will be brought to a National Count Centre in Dublin on Friday, 2nd June, where they will be will be verified and counted under the supervision of the National Returning Officer, Gerry O’Connell.
Votes will be weighted in accordance with the Fine Gael electoral college rules, with the 73 members of the Parliamentary Party (PP) accounting for 65% of the total vote, almost 21,000 party members accounting for 25% and 235 local representatives (232 councillors and 3 Údarás na Gaeltachta members) accounting for the remaining 10% of the vote.
The result will be officially announced at the Dublin count centre on Friday, 2nd June by the National Returning Officer, Gerry O’Connell.
“Fine Gael is a party that has always put the public interest before party interest. Deep in the DNA of Fine Gael is an unwavering commitment to democratic choice.This is a new process for electing a Party leader. It is intended to ensure that all members of the Fine Gael family have an opportunity to listen and be heard. It is focused on party members, councillors and parliamentary party members. We are an inclusive party engaging in a new democratic process,” Mr O’Connell said.