Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny told his Fine Gael party on Wednesday that he would deal with his leadership next week, when he is widely expected to announce his resignation, two sources present at the meeting told Reuters.
Kenny - who has already said that he will not lead the Fine Gael party into elections due late next year - had said he would outline his plans to party colleagues following a European Union summit on Brexit at the end of April.
Kenny, prime minister since 2011 and the leader of his party for almost 15 years, is expected to be replaced by a younger colleague - most likely Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar, the bookmaker's favorite, or Housing Minister Simon Coveney.
Coveney said he expected the three-week contest to begin in the not too distant future.
Whoever wins will be both party leader and prime minister at least until the election. Fine Gael members are banking on a new leader to revive their fortunes with the party marginally trailing its main rival Fianna Fail in most opinion polls.