After careful consideration, the incumbent President has decided to seek a second term in Áras an Úachtaráin
Michael D. Higgins has announced that he will be seeking a second term as President of Ireland.
The incumbent President issued a short statement, saying he will be "offering himself as an independent candidate, under Article 12.4.4 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, when the Ministerial Order for a Presidential Election is made later this year.
"The Government,” the statement added, "has been informed."
The decision will come as no surprise to politicians or to the media. There has been general agreement that Michael D has done an extraordinary job in the role. He has also achieved a huge level of popularity among voters. He has been enormously active throughout his term, reaching out successfully to different communities and making a significant contribution on the international stage.
Already, Labour, who originally nominated him seven years ago, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have indicated that they would support the president, if he were to choose to run again. With the possibility of a general election looming, there is no appetite among the major parties for a contest. To date, no potential opponents have emerged, though Sinn Féin has yet to decide if it will run a candidate.
President Higgins (photographed recently with Write Here, Write Now 3rd Level Winner, Jason Reddan) is a former Hot Press columnist. He was Minister for the Arts and Culture through much of the 1990s, when Labour were in coalition first with Fianna Fáil and then with Fine Gael. HE has brought his interest in the arts, culture and music into the Áras, with music forming a central part of many of the biggest occasions in which the President has been involved – notably the State visit to the Britain in 2014.
Some independent politicians, including Senator Gerry Craughwell, from Galway, have attempted to generate the nominations necessary to run, though no one has yet reached the required threshold. Assuming there is an election, it will likely take place on 26October, a date on which two referenda are also planned. The president's current term expires on 10 November.
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