More Trump than Trudeau? Taoiseach Varadkar's big test is to prove he can unite his party
Leo Varadkar's first real test as Fine Gael leader will be to set the scene for the tenure of the country's most talked about politician.
Within weeks of his likely election victory this evening, Mr Varadkar will have to show whether he possesses arguably the most important political skill of all: the art of collaboration.
Or in plain speak, the ability to work together. Does he have the capacity to unify, not just his party, but also a society that for too long has been underpinned by chasms and division?
But as we await the final result of an at times bitter leadership contest, even some of Mr Varadkar's own supporters remain unconvinced over the temperament of the man expected to become the country's 14th taoiseach.
While he models himself on politicians such as Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron, other far less flattering names have been bandied about in recent days.
Some within the party view him as 'more Trump than Trudeau', while comparisons have also been drawn between Mr Varadkar and Frank Underwood, the fictional US president in the hit series 'House of Cards'.
Underwood and Varadkar share the type of ruthless streak that has seen them both climb to the top in a relatively short period of time.
A staunch Varadkar critic, Willie O'Dea, put it bluntly that the Fine Gael politician is seen as being "nastier" than his soon to be predecessor Enda Kenny.
Mr O'Dea was responding to a description by Mr Varadkar of former taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
"The gutter is Bertie Ahern's natural habitat," Mr Varadkar said during his early political days.
Whether Mr Varadkar's leadership will be underpinned by nasty elements should become clear within weeks. His first job will be to heal the wounds that are within Fine Gael, a party more divided than it has been in years.
The leadership race exposed a serious degree of infighting and bitterness between the 73 TDs, senators and MEPs. Members of both camps resorted to a level of negative spin normally reserved for their political rivals, not their own friends and colleagues.
It doesn't bode well for a party that could be back on the canvass trail at any moment.
And so, Mr Varadkar's ability to bring the party together will be on display in just over a week's time, when he unveils his new Cabinet.
Simon Coveney may have shown himself to be desperately poor at winning leadership contests.
But he remains arguably the most capable member of Cabinet.
By appointing Mr Coveney as Tánaiste, Mr Varadkar might well silence his many critics, some of whom predict his term of office will be short-lived.
Fine Gael parliamentary party endorsements for leader
The Fine Gael parliamentary party makes up 65pc of the total electorate.
That makes each of the 73 members' votes worth 0.9pc of the total ballot.
Of the remaining electorate, 230 party councillors account for 10pc, while the remaining 25pc is rank and file members.
|Richard Bruton -Minister||Simon Harris - Minister|
|Frances Fitzgerald - Minister||Damien English - Minister|
|Michael Ring - Minister||Dara Murphy - Minister|
|Eoghan Murphy - Minister||David Stanton - Minister|
|Sean Kyne - Minister||Marcella Corcoran Kennedy - Minister|
|Joe McHugh - Minister||Kate O'Connell - TD|
|Helen McEntee - Minister||Maria Bailey - TD|
|Charlie Flanagan - Minister||Sean Barrett TD|
|Paul Kehoe -Minister||Hildegard Naughton - TD|
|Patrick O'Donovan - Minister||Peter Fitzpatrick - TD|
|Regina Doherty - Minister||Tim Lombard - Senator|
|Mary Mitchell O'Connor - Minister||Jerry Buttimer - Senator|
|Paschal Donohoe - Minister||Paudie Coffey - Senator|
|Heather Humphreys - Minister||James Reilly - Senator|
|Pat Breen - Minister||Colm Burke - Senator|
|Catherine Byrne - Minister||John O'Mahony - Senator|
|Andrew Doyle - Minister||Paul Coghlan - Senator|
|John Paul Phelan - TD||Gabrielle McFadden - Senator|
|Noel Rock - TD||Deirdre Clune - MEP|
|Tony McLoughlin - TD|
|Alan Farrell - TD|
|Michael D'Arcy - TD|
|Tom Neville - TD|
|Josepha Madigan - TD|
|Pat Deering - TD|
|Jim Daly - TD|
|Brendan Griffin - TD|
|Ciaran Cannon - TD|
|Colm Brophy - TD|
|Peter Burke - TD|
|Fergus O'Dowd - TD|
|John Deasy - TD|
|Joe Carey - TD|
|Neale Richmond - Senator|
|Catherine Noone - Senator|
|Paddy Burke - Senator|
|Martin Conway - Senator|
|Michelle Mulherin - Senator|
|Maura Hopkins - Senator|
|Ray Butler - Senator|
|Frank Feighan - Senator|
|Maria Byrne - Senator|
|Joe O'Reilly - Senator|
|Kieran O'Donnell - Senator|
|Brian Hayes - MEP|
|Enda Kenny - Outgoing Party Leader *||Martin Heydon - Party Chairman *|
|Michael Noonan - Minister||Michael Creed - Minister|
|Bernard Durkan - TD||Sean Kelly - MEP|
|Mairead McGuinness MEP|
* Outgoing leader Enda Kenny and party chairman Martin Heydon will not make an endorsement
Independent.ie Comments Facility
INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform Independent.ie to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.
We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website Independent.ie