For party candidates, there’s many a twist between selection and election
Fine Gael has ratcheted up the election pressure by issuing an edict that all selection conventions be done and dusted by October – six months ahead of the General Election, should the government run its full term.
Early conventions are about being ready for every eventuality and having candidates “on the pitch”. Fine Gael has its strategists in place. MEP Brian Hayes and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald have been tasked to lead on this and maximise the party vote. The plan is to have 20 of the 40 conventions completed by the summer recess.
To the outsider, selection conventions are internal procedural matters with little news value. Yet for candidates and party insiders they are the real deal. It is where political careers are made and lost. They also concentrate the mind and force candidates to reveal their intentions. They can be vicious affairs with long lead-in times, as candidates constantly do their sums, competing to cultivate new members if necessary so as to have the numbers to secure the nomination.