DUBLIN – Ireland re-elected its left president, Michael D. Higgins, to a second term and voted overwhelmingly on Saturday to abolish a ban on blasphemy from the constitution.
Mr. Higgins won easily, with about 56 percent of the vote, despite a late rise of a former reality celebrity celebrity whose support increased after criticizing an ethnic minority group. In a separate vote, approximately 65 percent of voters or 951,650 people opted for the abolition of a constitutional ban on blasphemy.
The voice was more symbolic than practical: Nobody has ever been charged with blasphemy in modern Ireland and in practice the ban had never led to a prosecution.
Irish voters chose to remove the word “blasphemous” from the law that says “the issue or statement of blasphemous, excited or indecent is a crime to be punished by law”.
In the House until the vote, the Catholic Church said that the Irish Constitution clause was “largely outdated”.
Mr. Higgin’s re-election to the presidency, a largely ceremonial position with rarely called constitutional powers, was never really in doubt, and he won comfortably, but the gains from Peter Casey, a former panelist at Ireland’s Dragon’s Theo Realization Show, drew great attention in the last days of the race.
Mr. Casey saw his support from 2 percent in polls conducted two weeks ago to about 23 percent in the election himself and lifted him from last in six candidate packages to second. The poll was concluded on Friday with the results announced on Saturday night.
The result was a deterioration for Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army’s former political wing. The party ignored the long-standing convention against challenging presidential candidates who sought other conditions and presented a candidate for testing their national strength.
The candidate, Liadh Rii, finished fourth, with only about 6 percent of the vote, significantly less than the party’s 14 percent support over everything in the latest national survey.
The dramatic increase in support for businessman Casey, 61, followed the release of a podcast interview where he criticized the Irish traveler’s official status as an ethnic minority, recognized by Parliament last year.
Travelers are a traditional nomadic origin group. Ethnic Irish origin, meaning that they have diverged from the general population for many generations since, developed their own variant of the Irish dialect and culture.
Mr. Casey had said that the travelers were “basically people camping in someone else’s country” and that their separate ethnic status was nonsense. He also accused travelers of failing to pay taxes and driving down housing prices where they live.
“The Casey poll shows that Ireland, like all other Western countries, is not immune from the populism we see around the world, says Noel Whelan, a political analyst.” The tactics he used were the same as we saw in America and elsewhere, where you attack a vulnerable social subject and accuse them of being impatient and causing social problems. “
Mr. Casey was one of three panelists from” Dragon’s The “to run in the election. All three claimed that their experience as businessmen would help them do a better job as president than Higgins, a graduate, poet and former parliamentary party of the Central Left Party.
During the 2011 presidential election, one of these real-world celebrities Sean Gallagher, came close to defeating Higgins. Mr. Gallagher, who is also a former fundraiser of Center Fianna Fail Party, ended the third time.
In a passionate speech at Dubli n Castle on Saturday night, Mr. Higgins said voters had become strong decisions about “Our Irish Character”.
“The people have chosen to choose which version of Irish they want to reflect at home and abroad,” he said. “It’s the creation of hope that they want to share, rather than the experience of exploitation of fragmentation or fear.”
The absence of a heavyweight challenger to Higgins was reflected in the dividend, which was down by a third of 64.5 percent that came out earlier this year for the referendum, which abolished Ireland’s prohibition of abortion.