Martin emerges as clear favourite to be next leader of FF
MICHEAL Martin has emerged as the favourite to become the next leader of Fianna Fail if Brian Cowen resigns or is forced out by backbenchers over the coming weeks, according to a new radio poll.
More than 3,000 listeners to RTE's 'Liveline' programme yesterday installed the Foreign Minister as the preferred candidate to succeed Mr Cowen.
A total of 38pc of the 'Liveline' listeners who took part in yesterday's text poll said they would like to see Mr Martin become the next leader of Fianna Fail.
He was followed by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan on 27pc and then Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin on 26pc.
Tanaiste and Education Minister Mary Coughlan drew a dismal 4pc of listeners' support.
That's the same level as Justice Minister Dermot Ahern.
Bottom of the list of the six candidates offered by the programme was Transport Minister Noel Dempsey.
Just 2pc of listeners believed he would be the best potential leader of Fianna Fail.
The Green Party's announcement yesterday prompted leading bookies Paddy Power to suspend betting on the election date.
The firm installed Enda Kenny as clear favourite at 4-7 (in from 4-5) to be the next Taoiseach with Eamon Gilmore next at 13-8 (from 9-4) and Brian Cowen unchanged at 9-1. Also quoted are Mr Lenihan and Mr Martin at 12-1, Ms Hanafin at 16-1 and Mr Ahern at 25-1.
On the formation of a new government, an FG/Labour coalition is on offer at the prohibitive odds of 1-10, after being on offer at 1-4 prior to the weekend.
Punters can speculate on a Fianna Fail-Labour partnership at 10-1, FF-FG-Labour at 14-1 and FG-Labour-Green at 16-1.
Fine Gael are 2-5 favourites to win the most seats ahead of Labour at 15-8 with Fianna Fail a forlorn hope in the betting at 14-1.
Mr Martin continues to head the list of contenders to replace Mr Cowen as next leader of FF and is available at 11-8 from Paddy Power.
Support for Ms Hanafin has pushed her price down from 7-2 to 9-4 while Mr Lenihan has drifted out from 7-4 to 3-1 with Mr Ahern on offer at 11-2.