LONDON – Michael Higgins won with a second word as Irish president on Saturday and imprisoned each constituency in a…
LONDON – Michael Higgins won with a second word as Irish president on Saturday and imprisoned each constituency in a election marked with low dividends.
The 77-year-old Higgins received 55.8 percent of the vote in Friday’s vote, contested by six candidates. The voting right was immediately below the record 56.3 percent received by long-standing independent leader Eamon de Valera in a two-way contest in 1959.
The Irish Independent Newspaper estimated that the dividend was less than 45 percent, the lowest ever for a presidential election.
“The Presidency belongs not only to any person but to the people of Ireland,” said Higgins after arriving at Dublin Castle with his wife Sabina. “I will be a president of all people, for those who voted for me and those who did not.”
The voices also supported the overwhelming removal of blasphemy from the Irish constitution. It was the latest in a series of actions that have seen the overwhelming Roman Catholic country back from the influence of religion on the government.
The vote was controversial only in businessman Peter Casey, the second place, who won 23.3 percent of the vote after criticizing the traveler community, a traditionally renowned ethnic group, claiming that Ireland has a culture of welfare dependence.
Casey’s support had been as low as 1 percent before the comments but increased after. Casey said that he advocated “my ireland”, people struggling to pay bills and get on the homesteads.
“The real reason I encountered the surveys is because I spoke and said my Ireland,” Casey said. “They are the ones who hurt, they are the ones who did not get any of the latest budget and they are the ones paying all bills.”
The president of Ireland is the head of state, but his work is largely ceremonial in parliamentary democracy led by Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
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