Gay Mitchell selected as FG presidential candidate
Published 09/07/2011 | 05:00
Dublin MEP Gay Mitchell today turned earlier predictions on their head by beating Pat Cox and Mairead McGuinness to become the Fine Gael presidential candidate.
A meeting of 500 party members chose FG veteran Mr Mitchell, previously regarded as an also ran.
A message posted on Twitter by Mr Mitchell shortly after the result read: "My sincere thanks to those who voted for me. We need to unite as a party. The real work starts here."
Yesterday Mr Mitchell demanded to see secret internal Fine Gael polling figures amid claims the party hierarchy was trying to damage his Aras ticket.
Ahead of the party's selection convention today, the poll apparently showed Mairead McGuinness and Pat Cox running at 22pc each, with Mr Mitchell lagging behind on 14pc.
But sources in the Mitchell camp had questioned the veracity of the figures -- or if the polling even existed.
As tensions mounted in the intriguing contest, observers said they believed the result was too close to call. In the end it was the FG veteran who triumphed.
The date for the presidential election was also announced today and is scheduled for Friday, October 21.