Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Illegitimate President.

Posted by Jason O on Aug 16, 2011 in Irish Politics, Occasional Guide to Irish Politics

The Aras: Where our Florida style president lives.
The Aras: Where our Florida style president lives.

The elction was clean. He won a clear majority of the votes, after preferences were distributed, and his opponents have conceded and rung to congratulate him. Ireland has elected a new head of state. Everything should be hunky-dory.

Except for the fact that the most popular candidate was barred from the ballot paper by the political establishment. Except that he got a smaller first preference than polls indicated the barred candidate would have received. In short, he’s the first Irish president ever elected despite the fact that he didn’t beat a more popular candidate. Can anyone name the more popular candidate barred from the ballot in the Robinson or McAleese elections? Probably not, because there weren’t any.

He is the legal president. But he is not legitimate, because we have never had a more popular candidate actively campaigning and barred from putting his name before the people before. He deserves legal recognition. But does he deserve our loyalty?

Doesn’t matter, his supporters say. He was duly elected under the rules set out in the constitution. They are, of course, correct. He is the legal president, according to the constitution.

The same way George W. Bush was deemed the legally elected president in 2000 by the US Supreme Court. He got less votes than the other guy too. 

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