TAOISEACH Brian Cowen had his leadership of Fianna Fail into the General Election ratified by his party's TDs last night.
A number of factors played into Mr Cowen's hands, which ensured he remained as leader and his opponents failed:
UNCERTAINTY: Mr Cowen captured the mood of many when he dismissed the notion of having two lines of authority with the role of Taoiseach separated from the leader of Fianna Fail.
TIMING: So close to a general election, Fianna Fail TDs felt it was too late for a change and if Mr Cowen's detractors wanted a change, they should have moved earlier.
COMMAND: Mr Cowen took control of the battlefield last week when he went into a three-day consultation with FF TDs and then announced the motion of confidence in himself.
DIVISION: Too busy watching each other's movement, leadership contenders failed to unite in opposition to Mr Cowen, even after he afforded them a chance to take him out.
CLEAN: Mr Cowen has fought a clean fight and his refusal of Micheal Martin's resignation offer ensured he didn't create a martyr to energise the dissenting voices.
HOPE: Mr Cowen portrayed himself as a "fighter" to lead the party into the general election, drawing on his 2007 campaign performance.
RESIGNATION: Many FF TDs believe the party cannot pull up from its current nosedive in the general election and a drubbing is on the cards, regardless of who is leader.