Gormley leaves door open for FF to name third Taoiseach
Green Party leader John Gormley has left the door open for Fianna Fail to remove Brian Cowen and put forward a new Taoiseach before the general election.
Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin threw his hat in the ring for the Fianna Fail leadership at the weekend, whenever a vacancy arises.
Mr Gormley's failure to rule out a third Taoiseach being elected during the term of the Government was criticised yesterday as further damaging his party's credibility.
Mr Martin stressed he won't lead a heave against Mr Cowen -- the same position as fellow leadership contender, Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is also expected to be in the hunt.
Mr Gormley dismissed reports the junior coalition partners would not support the nomination of a new Taoiseach before the general election.
The Environment Minister said it was "hypothetical" to suggest Mr Cowen would resign and the party had not made a decision on supporting a new Taoiseach.
Within Fianna Fail, there is a growing belief Mr Cowen cannot lead them into an election.
But there were doubts being expressed by party figures over whether the Greens would tolerate a third Taoiseach being elected by the Coalition.
Fine Gael environment spokesman Phil Hogan warned the Greens' credibility would take another battering if they voted in a new Taoiseach after Bertie Ahern and Mr Cowen.
"If they are prepared to go along with a Fianna Fail plan to drag the imminent general election out for a number of weeks to bed in a new leader it certainly will create instability and will damage the credibility of the party," he said.
Fianna Fail TD Mary O'Rourke is understood to have angered both Mr Cowen's supporters and critics with her advice that the Taoiseach's wife, Mary Cowen, should persuade him to resign.
"That went down like a bucket of sick," a Fianna Fail source said.