Deputy Irish Prime Minister, Brian Cowen, is looking increasingly likely to take over as Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader without a contest.
This morning, two cabinet ministers ruled themselves out of the running for the job after Bertie Ahern resigns on May 6th.
Enterprise Minister Micheal Martin and Social Affairs Minister Martin Cullen have both thrown their weight behind Mr Cowen's candidacy, as has Defence Minister Willie O'Dea.
Yesterday, Justice Minister Brian Lenihan also ruled himself out of the race.
Fianna Fail's national executive is meeting today to discuss the process for choosing a new leader, with Mr Cowen the odds-on favourite, even if there is a leadership election.
Mr Ahern himself has already named the Laois-Offaly TD as his natural successor. He has consistently offered support for Mr Ahern in the face of fierce opposition criticism and has been widely credited with “steadying the ship” over recent stormy times.
When asked directly if he believed the Taoiseach’s evidence, he said: “If the man said it, I’m sure it’s true.”
Fine Gael had said that Brian Cowen must be the “only person left in the country who believes Bertie Ahern.
However the the timing for Cowen couldn't be worse. After a decade-long boom under Ahern, Ireland's economy is likely to grow at the slowest pace in almost 20 years. House prices have fallen 8.8 percent in the last year and the jobless rate has risen to an eight-year high of 5.2 percent.
Cowen, a solicitor by profession, has held most of Ireland's key cabinet posts including Labor, Energy, Transport, Health and Foreign Affairs, before taking over as finance minister in 2004. He described his stint as health minister, trying to sort out Ireland's vexed hospital system, as like "being in Angola".
As finance minister he has struck a balance in his budgets between generous social policy and pro-market tax reforms.
Presenting his toughest budget at the end of 2007, Cowen announced an overhaul of property tax and targeted extra welfare spending to take the sting out of a projected fall in Irish growth to its lowest level since the early 1990s.
Video: Bertie quits