Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny was defended by two senior government ministers, as members of his own party pressured him to set out timetable for his departure.
Against the backdrop of last month’s vote by the U.K. to exit the European Union, the time is not right for a leadership challenge, Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan told broadcaster RTE on Monday in Dublin, a call echoed by Education Minister Richard Bruton.
Internal party discontent with Kenny’s stewardship has been growing since he lost his majority in February’s election, and has been amplified by his handling of the Brexit issue. Brendan Griffin, a lawmaker from Kenny’s party, Fine Gael, demanded he depart before the end of the year, calling the government “rudderless.”
“We suspect that backbenchers would never dream of airing such views publicly unless they sense the possibility of an imminent change of leadership,” said Philip O’Sullivan, an economist at Investec Plc in Dublin.
Last week, Kenny shelved the idea of creating all-Ireland forum to discuss the implications of the U.K. decision’s to exit the European Union, amid opposition from Northern Irish unionist leaders.