WASHINGTON- Senator Tom Harkin will replace the late Edward Kennedy, a fellow liberal Democrat, as chairman of the Senate health committee, a key panel in the drive for healthcare reform, a Democratic Party aide said on Wednesday.

In addition, Senator Blanche Lincoln will succeed Harkin as chair of the Agriculture Committee, the aide said. Both committee chairs are expected to be announced later on Wednesday along with Senator Chris Dodd's decision to remain as head of the Senate Banking Committee.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro, Editing by Sandra Maler)