After Enda Kenny stepped down (and he was nearly FORCED to step down because he made some nonsensical promises about his longevity in the role of party leader and Taoiseach), the leadership battle between Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar commenced and on Friday was decision day. 10,000 party members, the 223 Fine Gael councillors and 73 senators and PDs (the Parliamentary Party) had an opportunity to vote.
Before the vote already 46 of the 73 members of the Parliamentary Party had declared their support for Leo Varadkar and only 21 for Simon Coveney, but among the 10,000 party members the preferences looked different! About 65% of the party members were supporting Coveney and only 35% were on Varadkar’s side.
But now the odd thing: This is a party in a Western country where you would expect the highest level of democracy and fairness. Right? Not so!!
Oddly, the 10,000 party members only have 25% of “weight” in the final decision, the FG councillors have 10% “weight”, which means that 73 men and women control 65% of the party. You could say that these 73 were elected by the members (and by non-members) and therefore have a double legitimisation. But it is still odd that ONE member of the Parliamentary Party has close to the same weight as nearly 400 party members.
Doesn’t sound very democratic, does it!?
In the end Leo Varadkar won just 35% of the party member votes, but he won 55% of the councillor votes and 70% of the votes from TDs and senators. In total he got 60% of the votes and therefore won.