Belfast Telegraph

Green Party 'must reinvent itself'

Former Environment Minister John Gormley has called for the party to reinvent itself as he announced he is to stand down as leader.

In an email to Green party members last Wednesday, Mr Gormley said the party had to reflect on the way forward after its battering in the election where it lost all six of its Dail seats.

Under its rules the party must hold a leadership contest within six months of a General Election.

But Mr Gormley said he would not be putting himself forward for any position.

"Having had time to reflect on the situation, I believe the party now has to reinvent itself," Mr Gormley said. "This will necessitate a completely new leadership to take over after internal election dates have been agreed.

"In order to signal this new beginning I will not be putting my name forward for any position. I will of course be available at all times to ensure a smooth transition to the new party structure."

Mr Gormley won a ballot of members to become leader in July 2007, taking over the helm from Trevor Sargent.

Under the party's constitution a leader's term in office runs for five years. It is understood Mr Gormley will stay in office until a new leader is elected.

The party is due to hold a meeting next Saturday - dubbed Regather and Refocus by Mr Gormley - to discuss the election result and chart the way forward.

Mr Gormley said the feeling among members was that the Greens needed to get back to being a campaigning party, but he said they should not discard the valuable experience gained in government.

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