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Taoiseach's role must be earned

While those in the proverbial smoke-filled rooms cogitate and make tempestuous extempore deliberations about the future of Brian Cowen as Taoiseach, they ought to clearly understand that nobody can successfully hold this office until he, or she, has led their party to victory in a general election.

Brian Cowen does not have a mandate to hold the top job and, until he earns one, he is like the holder of a provisional driver's licence: authorised to conduct the office, but with very compromised empowerment.

That is the primary reason his popularity in opinion polls is more shallow than his followers might like.

If Fianna Fail think they can run candidates in and out of the Taoiseach role to radiate their transient political mood, they'd better realise that their next selection may have the wisdom of Solomon and the virtues of a saint, but if that candidate does not promptly make a case directly to the electorate, his, or her, legitimacy as Taoiseach will be very short-lived and severely compromised. .

MYLES DUFFY

Co Dublin

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