Higgins declared president elect with one million votes

Sat, Oct 29, 2011, 01:00

Labour Party candidate Michael D Higgins has been elected to succeed Mary McAleese and serve as the ninth president of Ireland.

Mr Higgins said he would be a president for all the people and do his utmost to rebuild public trust in the institutions of the State after he was formally declared president-elect at Dublin Castle after securing more than one million votes following the fourth and final count today.

He said his mandate was "for an inclusive citizenship which is about equality, participation and respect in a creative society, creative and excellent in everything we Irish do; making an Irishness to be proud of in a real republic".

Mr Higgins’s victory was confirmed at Dublin Castle this afternoon following a count which lasted for more than 24 hours. Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Mr Higgins’s wife, Sabina, and his children were on hand to congratulate the president elect, who will be inaugurated on November 11th.

After the fourth count, Mr Higgins - with 1,007,1004 votes - was confirmed as the winner, finishing almost 400,000 votes ahead of his closest rival, the independent candidate Sean Gallagher.

Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness finished third in the poll, ahead of Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell, and the independents David Norris, Dana Rosemary Scallon and Mary Davis. Five of the seven candidates were on hand for the announcement of the result, with Mr Mitchell and Ms Davis absent.

Mr Gallagher, who was leading opinion polls at the beginning of this week, extended his best wishes to Mr Higgins and said he had no doubt he would be an “outstanding president”.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Higgins said he had been given a clear mandate by the Irish electorate for a presidency based on a very clear set of ideas that he intended to implement with his heart and his head.

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