Sunday 15 December 2019

Presidential nominations are in need of a rethink

HOW many candidates have so far entered the presidential election race? Strictly speaking, none. Even the two aspirants chosen by Labour and Fine Gael respectively have not yet been officially nominated -- and no wonder, with the election more than three months away.

The choices of Michael D Higgins and Gay Mitchell make an intriguing contrast. Mr Higgins is admired at all levels of the Labour Party. Fine Gael voted for Mr Mitchell against the known, though unstated, wishes of the party leadership.

As the candidate of the biggest party, Mr Mitchell should now become the favourite. So far, the opinion polls have agreed that David Norris is the front-runner, but that may not long survive the entry of a Fine Gael candidate.

Still, it is absurd that Mr Norris should be in the race but yet not in it. He has not received the support, from Oireachtas members or councillors, necessary for an official nomination. This undemocratic requirement cries out for change.

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