Current leader Enda Kenny has being formally challenged by supporters of former Finance spokesperson Richard Bruton. Bruton's supporters include 11 of Kenny's 19 member front bench and a majority of Fine Gaels MP's.
However the Fine Gael parliamentary party is made up of at total of 70 MP's, Seanators and MEP's. It is expected that the majority of Fine Gael's senators and MEP's will vote in favour of Kenny.
Both sides are claiming that they have the numbers to win the motion of confidence in the leader.
Mayo MP Michael Ring said that Kenny would need 36 votes to win the motion.
I expect Enda Kenny to win it today by 40-30," said Ring.
"The public are impressed because every time Enda Kenny went before the public they have given him an endorsement."
Fine Gael have scored highly in all political polls over the past two years. However Enda Kenny's approval ratings have always been consistently low and continue to drop.
Fine Gael MP, Michael Darcy said: "People are not satisfied with Enda Kenny as leader. That disappoints me".
Two prominent members of Fine Gael declared their lack of confidence in Kenny yesterday and formally joined the "Bruton camp".
It is believed that some Kenny supporters may switch allegiance to Bruton as a narrow win for Kenny will divide the party beyond repair. The vast majority of anti-Kenny supporters have declared their support for Bruton in the event of a leadership race.
Speaking at a press conference at Government buildings, Bruton called on Kenny to resign as to avoid a party bloodbath.
My first loyalty is to the people of our country. They have lost so much due to failed politics. We must make our country secure again. When we do this, we will do so much for our people," said Bruton.
“I have not taken the decision to seek to become leader of my party and of the country lightly. I have the resolve and the determination to see it through. It is the right thing to do for our party and for the country at this time of extreme challenge,” he said.
“My message to Enda Kenny is obviously I would prefer if this motion didn’t have to go ahead, a lot of people thought that this could be resolved internally, but a vote is now to be held and I think that will go ahead.”
Bruton said he would unify the party if he succeeds in his leadership challenge but he refuses to serve in the Fine Gael front bench if Kenny wins.
Kenny's campaign manager Phil Hogan called on those that oppose Kenny to accept the final verdict and serve the party if Kenny wins.
Last night 33 members of the party claimed they were supporting Kenny whilst 30 members were claimed by Bruton.
A small group of seven undecided politicians will dictate the outcome of the motion of confidence in Enda Kenny.
The result of the motion of confidence will be made public in the mid afternoon.
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