An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Non-Political Presidential Candidate.

The President: Making speeches about nothing is harder than you think. Community. The Vulnerable. Nodding his head solemnly. These are all things he wants to be identified with. Most importantly, he wants everyone to know that he is not “political”. He’s not like those candidates from the parties. He wants to put the ordinary people first.

Then he’s asked about what he would do as president. More stuff about being a voice for the disposessed (being a voice for the posessed would surely be much more interesting) and being a guardian of the constitution, whatever that means. Yes, yes, that’s all lovely, says the questioner. But would you sign, say, a bill which cut spending on children?

No, he says. It’s at that moment that his campaign becomes interesting, because at that moment he commits himself to open warfare with the elected government. Even more importantly, it opens the door to trickier questions. If as president you’re going to veto bills, then we’re entitled to ask your political positions on all sorts of things. Will you sign a bill on, say, gay adoption?

The panic flashes across the eyes. He signed up for guff about the diaspora, not for this. I’m not political! He protests. But if you are going to veto political bills you don’t like, aren’t people entitled to know where you stand politically before they vote?

The mouth goes dry. Do you feel that people who disagree with your vetoing bills should protest outside the Aras? The questioner asks. Protests? A drip of sweat trickles down his forehead.

Do you have anything to say? The questioner asks.

Community? The Vulnerable? The candidate suggests hopefully.

One thought on “An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Non-Political Presidential Candidate.

  1. A president cannot ‘veto’ a bill.

    Veto implies personal power to shoot down a bill. The pres can only refer a bill to the people, via refendum or the Dáil after an election (so it has a recent pop mandate), if a required number of Oireachtas members want it done, or to the the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.

    The pres can remain apolitical and still perfrom both of those functions. He has no direct veto power.

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