President Michael D. Higgins is planning to announce his intentions to run again for the Phoenix Park, Hot Press has learnt.
President Higgins had previously said he would make his intentions clear by September. But senior political figures in Leinster House have been informed that he will now officially announce his plans in July, it's being reported in this morning's Irish Times.
Almost half of voters (48pc) want Michael D. Higgins to run again, according to a poll published last Sunday in the Sunday Independent, which was carried out by Kantar Millward Brown.
When he first ran, President Higgins stated that he only planned to seek one term in office, but it's understood that he's been encouraged by the overwhelmingly high level of public support to run again.
In recent months, a number of leading political figures have come out in support of Michael D. running for a second term.
Former Minister Alan Kelly told Hot Press: "Michael D’s an incredible human being. He is unique. He is such a good representative for Ireland. I think it would be a travesty if he didn’t (run for second term)."
Labour's Chairperson Jack O'Connor told Hot Press: "Michael D. Higgins has discharged the role with immense distinction and I think that we would be most fortunate if he were to choose to run again. It would be a matter for him and his family. But I would certainly – enthusiastically – support him if he were to choose to do so."
It's expected that a presidential election will take place in November. But it's hard to think of any public figure that would rival Michael D. for the public's affection.
In fact, it appears unlikely that Fine Gael would even run a candidate - such is the level of support and admiration for the current President.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said Mr Higgins would enjoy “enormous support” for a second term.
“Whether he would be unopposed or not, that’s a matter for others, but I think that if he were to seek a second term he would have very strong cross-party support,” Leo Varadkar stated back in 2016.
Even one potential future candidate, David Hall, dubbed the "home loan hero" by the media for his work with Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation, admitted that he would never dream of running against Michael D for the presidency.
"And I think Mary Robinson, and Michael D. especially, have shown the scope of the Presidency, which is very important. The positivity that a President can give the country is absolutely incredible," David told Hot Press.
"People are happy to see Michael D. He actually brings a smile to the face – and not in a derogatory fashion, in a genuinely positive way. And they’re proud to say, ‘He’s my man'."
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