Cowen planning to have election team in place by summer of 2011
FIANNA Fail is planning to have the bulk of its candidates for the next general election selected by mid-2011.
The party will shortly begin to sort out its line-ups.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen is still working off a plan for the election to be held in mid-2012, despite rumours of his government's probable demise.
Before the 2007 poll, the party began its candidate selection strategy in March/April 2005.
Mr Cowen played a key role on that occasion as head of the candidate selection committee, reporting back to then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
But Mr Cowen has yet to indicate what structure he will put in place to pick candidates this time out.
Fianna Fail is planning to have the bulk of its candidates selected by the middle of next year, to give them time to build their local profiles.
But party strategists deny they will be running fewer candidates this time out because poor poll ratings mean they will be fighting to hold on to seats and won't want to run the risk of splitting the vote.
"Decisions will be made on constituency by constituency basis," a senior party source said.
Most of the candidates will still be selected by local conventions, where delegates vote.