Brian Cowen is to be the new leader of the Fianna Fáil party.

Tánaiste Brian Cowen secures his party’s top seat and will take over from outgoing Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.  At his first news conference, the leader-designate of Fianna Fáil promised to devote all of his abilities and energies to his new job and declared himself to be

Excited by the challenge, if somewhat daunted by the responsibility.

Busloads of supporters, friends and family from County Offaly had arrived at Leinster House earlier in the day, including his brother Barry. Brian Cowen's Fine Gael constituency colleague Charlie Flanagan, who has contested six general elections with him, had these words of praise for him, 

He fights tough at elections, but he fights fair at elections.  He is very much a decent gentleman, and I wish him well in that position.

Labour’s finance spokeswoman Joan Burton has sparred with Cowen since his arrival as Minister for Finance, 

I found him robust, but actually quite amiable. He is one of these people who has good days and bad days, and when he’s on form, very witty, very engaging.

On 6 May the Tánaiste will officially change offices and roles.  Time will tell if he adapts his style to improve his appeal.  He has been described as impressive, but is this enough?  According to communications expert Terry Prone,

Being impressive is not enough for a leader, a leader needs to be able to convey the significance of the data that he is talking about.

On radio today he admitted that he would reshape a few things, but not to the extent that we won’t recognise him.  Terry Prone does not have any advice regarding an image change for the Taoiseach in waiting. 

I would not like to be suggesting to him any of the superficial stuff like change your hairstyle, wear different suits, lose weight, any of that sort of stuff.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 9 April 2008.  The reporter is Martina Fitzgerald.