Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Election time

On October 27th, we in Ireland will be going to the polling stations to elect a President.

Before anybody gets too excited, I am not really of the opinion that there is going to be a dramatic, emotional earthquake similar to Mary Robinson's election in 1990.

So far the only two candidates are Michael D Higgins of Labour, and Gay Mitchell of Fine Gael.

Two other Independent candidates have stated that they want to be on the ballot paper; they are Mary Davis, and Sean Gallagher.

So far, Davis and Gallagher have been campaigning with local councils, because they need to be nominated by four County Councils to get on the ballot paper. Some councils have already stated that they will support either Gallagher or Davis.

Today the Minister for Environment issued the official notice about the election, and the closing date for nominations is 28th September.

So next the councils have to formally meet and officially "sign off" on the nominations of either Davis or Gallagher; councils usually meet once a month anyway.

I am going here and now to make a prediction; it would not surprise me if Fine Gael, Labour, or both decided to reign in their councillors with the party whip to try to ensure that Davis and/or Gallagher DO NOT get on the ballot paper. The tactic might not succeed if they tried; e.g., Monaghan County Council has no Labour Councillors, and Fine Gael don't have a majority.

But in politics, nothing surprises me.

After election, the President has little or no real power. He/she officially can't leave the country or make a public statement without permission of the Government, and he/she must sign legislation into law, or resign. All the President can do is refer a Bill to the Supreme Court to test whether or not it is constitutional.

So far nobody has asked me to run for the Presidency; but there's a nice six-figure salary and a good pension at the end of the seven years, so never say never!