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Irish finance minister resigns
Last Updated: 2017-05-19 00:00 | Xinhua
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Following Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Fine Gael (United Ireland Party) leader Enda Kenny's announcement to resign as party leader, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said Thursday he will step down as a cabinet minister when a new prime minister assumes office in June.

"Following the Taoiseach's announcement yesterday, I want to state that I do not wish to be considered for cabinet by his successor, whoever that may be," he said in a statement.

Noonan, 73, said he has been honored to serve as finance minister since March 2011 and have introduced six annual budgets and one supplementary budget.

"I believe now is a good time for a new finance minister to take up office. Ireland is the fastest growing economy in Europe, the budget is almost balanced and we are on the cusp of full employment," he said.

But Noonan said he will continue to carry out his duties as finance minister until a successor is appointed.

He also said he won't be seeking reelection to the Dail Eireann, or lower house of Irish parliament, at the next general election.

"It has been a privilege to represent the people of Limerick since I was first elected in 1981 and I look forward to continuing to do so until an election is called," Noonan said.

On Wednesday evening, Irish Prime Minister Kenny announced to step down as party leader. But Kenny will remain on as prime minister until a new party leader is elected.

Currently, a party leadership contest has officially begun. Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Simon Coveney are widely considered the two frontrunners in the leadership race.

Both Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Education Minister Richard Bruton said they will not be candidates in the Fine Gael leadership race.

The Fine Gael leadership will be decided by an electoral college that gives the parliamentary party TDs (members of parliament), Senators and MEPs (members of the European Parliament) -- 65 percent of the vote. Rank-and-file members are allocated 25 percent and councilors 10 percent. Enditem

DUBLIN, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Following Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) and Fine Gael (United Ireland Party) leader Enda Kenny's announcement to resign as party leader, incumbent Finance Minister Michael Noonan said on Thursday he will step down as a cabinet minister when a new prime minister assumes office in June.

"Following the Taoiseach's announcement yesterday, I want to state that I do not wish to be considered for cabinet by his successor, whoever that may be," he said in a statement.

Noonan, 73, said he has been honored to serve as finance minister since March 2011 and have introduced six annual budgets and one supplementary budget.

"I believe now is a good time for a new finance minister to take up office. Ireland is the fastest growing economy in Europe, the budget is almost balanced and we are on the cusp of full employment," he said.

But Noonan said he will continue to carry out his duties as finance minister until a successor is appointed.

He also said he won't be seeking reelection to the Dail Eireann, or lower house of Irish parliament, at the next general election.

"It has been a privilege to represent the people of Limerick since I was first elected in 1981 and I look forward to continuing to do so until an election is called," Noonan said.

On Wednesday evening, Irish Prime Minister Kenny announced to step down as party leader. But Kenny will remain on as prime minister until a new party leader is elected.

Currently, a party leadership contest has officially begun. Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Simon Coveney are widely considered the two frontrunners in the leadership race.

Both Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald and Education Minister Richard Bruton said they will not be candidates in the Fine Gael leadership race.

The Fine Gael leadership will be decided by an electoral college that gives the parliamentary party TDs (members of parliament), Senators and MEPs (members of the European Parliament) -- 65 percent of the vote. Rank-and-file members are allocated 25 percent and councilors 10 percent. Enditem

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