Adams has also criticised the media for its reporting of the leadership process.
ALMOST 35 YEARS after he became leader of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams has advertised for his replacement on his personal blog.
Adams announced at the party’s Ard Fheis late last year that he would be stepping down and nominations for the positions of leader and deputy leader opened on Monday.
A special Ard Fheis is to be held in Dublin’s RDS on 10 February at which delegates will selected Adams’ successor.
In his post, Adams says that 1,200 Sinn Féin members will vote to select the new leadership at that meeting.
Adams laid down the timetable for the election of his successor, saying that sections of the media had no basis in “guessing” that the process would take up to a year.
“Not infrequently, especially by those renowned for their anti-Sinn Féin bias, it is all just invented,” Adams said.
Instead, the Sinn Féin president said that the timetable for his departure and the election of his replacement was all about preparing for the next Dáil election.
Some suggested that my departure could take up to a year or that I wouldn’t stand down until the negotiations in the north had concluded, for good or ill. I have to say that none of that played any part in my decision. My one consideration was to provide the new leader with sufficient time to prepare him or herself for the next general election in the south.
Adams outlined the nomination process for the prospective leader, explaining that to be eligible they must secure the support of at least ten of the 300 plus registered Sinn Féin cumainn.
Each cumann will send three voting representatives to the special Ard Fheis and there will also be single votes for other regional Sinn Féin structures as well as one vote each for Sinn Féin’s Ard Chomhairle.
“That means up to 1,200 Sinn Féin members will participate in the democratic process of electing the next leader of the party,” Adams said.
Sinn Féin’s current deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald is the overwhelming favourite to succeed Adams as leader but who may succeed her as deputy is less clear.
Candidates have until next Friday 19 January to submit nomination papers, after which there will be three weeks before the party votes for the new leadership.
Adams explained that this period will allow candidates “speak to the party membership at specially convened regional meetings”.
Adams took over the leadership of Sinn Féin in 1983, 11 years before the IRA ended its campaign of violence and 15 years before the Good Friday Agreement.
He was first elected to Westminster in 1983 and was elected to the Dáil in 2011.