President hopeful Cox set to join FG
PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Pat Cox is set to join Fine Gael in an effort to gain the party's nomination.
The former Progressive Democrat (inset) is understood to be willing to officially pledge his alliance to the party.
Fine Gael officials had indicated that in order for Mr Cox to challenge MEP Mairead McGuinness for the party nomination, he would have to officially sign up.
He has been working in the background with the party for some time, particularly in the build up to the General Election.
Mr Cox is a former president of the European Parliament and holds considerable clout in political circles, whereas Ms McGuinness is a sitting MEP.
It is understood that Fine Gael had wanted him to run for the Dail but he declined the opportunity.
Ms McGuinness became the favourite to receive the Fine Gael nomination after fellow MEP Sean Kelly and former Taoiseach John Bruton both announced they are not interested in the job.
Analysts say that Fine Gael's popularity at the moment gives it its best ever chance of securing the Aras. TDs, senators, MEPs and councillors will have to vote in the coming weeks to select their candidate.