Letting the voters vote is a good idea

Depending on what country you live in, you may or may not be aware of what is going on in the presidential election campaign in Ireland. The actual election will take place later this year, and on the ballot paper will be all those candidates who have managed to get nominated. However, nomination is not a formality. A candidate will need to secure support either from a number of local authorities or from a number of the members of the Irish parliament (the Oireachtas).

A number of candidates are now lining up, and it is going to be a hotly contested race. All opinion polls confirm that there is a clear frontrunner: independent Senator David Norris. But whether the voters will actually be able to vote for him remains uncertain, as he has not so far secured the necessary nominations. In addition, his task is made more difficult by the fact that his rivals include Gay Mitchell of Fine Gael and Michael D. Higgins of Labour, and these two parties dominate the councils and the ranks of parliamentarians from whom Norris will need to secure the nomination. Indeed Fine Gael appears to have instructed its members not to support nominations for anyone other than their candidate.

So right now it looks possible that David Norris, the apparent choice of the people, will not be able secure a nomination. If this happens it will be seen by many as an outrage, and will in addition fundamentally undermine the mandate that the then winning candidate will claim to have secured. It is in fact in nobody’s interests that this should happen.

Some politicians have agreed to nominate David Norris even though they will actually be voting for someone else, and that is an entirely honourable position. Others, including members of Fine Gael, should follow this lead so as not to bring the whole election into disrepute.

Whether David Norris should be elected is another matter, or rather is a matter for the people. That he should be a candidate seems to me to be beyond any reasonable doubt.

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6 Comments on “Letting the voters vote is a good idea”

  1. Vincent Says:

    If FG block Norris the Irish people will with glee render pointless Gay Mitchell candidature. And if FF want to get points for looking reasonable -lets be honest they could do with a few- they should back Norris for the sake of Democracy.

  2. Al Says:

    FG and LB need to get this sorted pronto, as letting this situation grow will diminish the political parties in the eyes of the electorate due to their cartel like hold on the route to the office.

  3. kevin denny Says:

    I agree. Whether I would vote for Norris I am not sure, but it would be dreadful if he does not get a nomination. Let us hope that a few more members of the Oireachtas are sufficiently democratic to support him.

  4. Dave Says:

    The crisis in confidence in leadership across the globe and everything political and connected to the market economy extends also to almost all democratic systems including this one. The problem is that they – political, economic and social systems – are all designed to be mutually self sustaining even though they will collapse around us one day, along with the banks and all our money! Oh for a set of leaders who could and would deliver on REALLY fundamental social, political and economic change. The problem is we no longer produce great leaders with truly insipring ideas who command respect for what they say and what they do and who are prepared and able to challenge the status quo. Oh for a real radical to shake things up a bit! Meanwhile the leemings approach the cliff edge……


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