Seven years too long

In The Irish Times, Jim Duffy looks back at the “unambiguous stitch-up” that saw Mary McAleese returned ‘unopposed’ as Irish President for a second seven-year term of office and argues convincingly for “a fundamental overhaul” of the nominations procedure and the seven-year term.

He is particularly scathing in his criticism of the Green Party’s failure to nominate a candidate –

“it is much more difficult to understand the Green’s stance. For running against McAleese would have been a no-lose option for them. With a guaranteed 50 per cent coverage during the campaign in a two-horse race, it would be next to impossible not to get enough votes to qualify for State funding.

The Greens effectively turned down a free campaign and free publicity that would have won the party a higher profile and increased credibility with voters who had not voted Green, resulting in more D

  • mickhall

    If there is to be a seven year term then perhaps it should be restricted to a single term of office. It does seem a bit weird to me why anyone would wish to spend fourteen years of their lives doing this job. Apart that is from a reasonable salary, excellent accommodation, first class travel, guaranteed tickets to the All Ireland Final plus other major sporting events……..

  • maca

    …well in a recent poll the vast majourity of people were happy that Mac remains in the job, and few polled actually wanted an election.
    14 years is a bit long in the job but if she does a good job then what does it matter.

  • Ciarán Irvine

    I don’t think you can assume a Green candidate actually would have got the 12.5% to get State part-funding of campaign expenses. The poll in the Irish Times yesterday showed Mary McAleese with 90% approval, and only 6% disapproval. And IIRC, 54% of people didn’t want/saw no need for an election. Forcing an election most punters saw no need for could have backfired badly on the Greens. And the kind of people (a tiny number) who despise McAleese – right-wing Deefer Partitionists, mostly – probably wouldn’t think much of the Green Party either.

  • peteb

    A quick point to clarify on that Irish Times poll –

    “The poll was taken immediately after Mrs McAleese was re-elected unopposed as President for a second seven-year term. Some 42 per cent believe a presidential election should have been held, 53 per cent that it should not have been held, and 5 per cent have no opinion.”
    from the Irish Times

    It’s entirely possible that the non-election being a done deal may have had an effect on the result.

    Another point to consider, as Jim Duffy argues in his article, “the longer the period between presidential elections (there now will be no election between 1997 and 2011) the more the office is seen as belonging more to the political establishment and less to the people.”

  • Declan

    What Duffy and the Irish Times (is this the same Jim Duffy that broke the Lenihan scandal during the 1990 Presidential Campaign?)don’t mention is that this is not the first time an Irish President has been returned unopposed. Sean T. O’Kelly and DeValera were returned without a contest. So was Patrick Hillery as recently as 1983. But of course, Marydoll is a northerner, and without an election to stick the boot into her, a tirade in the papers will have to do.

  • peteb

    While he may not spell it out, Declan, he does refer to the unopposed re-appointments of those three Irish presidents.

    “That is one of the reasons why Mary Robinson did not take a second term, and why Se