Sinn Fein has shared power in the British province of Northern Ireland since 2007 and is in talks to restore devolved government there, but it has never governed in the Republic where it has established itself as the third largest party.
Mary Lou McDonald was the only Sinn Fein lawmaker to put her name forward to replace outgoing leader Gerry Adams ahead of a special convention on February 10.
"Leadership means knowing when it's time for change and that time is now," Adams told Sinn Fein's party conference in Dublin.
Northern Ireland's main political parties Sinn Fein and DUP have been in talks to form a government since an election in March but are yet to come to an agreement.
Northern Ireland's ex-deputy first minister and former IRA commander died after a prolonged illness.
Subscribe to our Youtube channel for all latest in-depth, on the ground reporting from around the world.
Copyright © 2022 TRT World.