Joan Burton prepares to take over Labour leadership mantle

Joan Burton is expected to be confirmed as the new leader of the Labour party later today.

Ms Burton will immediately enter into negotiations with An Taoiseach on a re-launch of the Government and a Cabinet reshuffle.

One of four Labour TDs will also be elected as the party's deputy Leader.

It's five and a half weeks since Eamon Gilmore announced his resignation and Labour embarked on an internal election campaign.

More than 3,200 members had a vote. By yesterday, more than 80% of them had cast it, with more last-minute ballots expected to arrive this morning before the noon deadline.

When the envelopes are opened at lunchtime today, they are expected to quickly confirm that Joan Burton has won the battle to be the next Tánaiste, beating off the challenge of junior Minister Alex White.

Counting is due to start at 12.30pm this afternoon, with a result expected sometime after 3pm.

Joan Burton will have to immediately set about negotiations with Fine Gael on a re-focus on issues in the Programme For Government and a Cabinet reshuffle to be announced next week.

Labour will also elect a new deputy leader this afternoon. Junior minister Alan Kelly is the frontrunner, but Michael McCarthy could shade it with transfers from Ciara Conway and Seán Sherlock.

The victor in that race guarantees themselves a job in Cabinet from next week.

KEYWORDS: Labour party
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