Presidential election and choice
Sir, – Failing to put forward a number of candidates for election to the presidency, when President Michael D Higgins’s term of office expires at the end of 2018, would be inappropriate on several levels.
First, it is difficult to accept that Ireland is so lacking in talent that our political parties cannot think of a single viable candidate for the presidency other than the current incumbent.
Second, the essence of democracy is that there should be several candidates in an election. Democracy means choice – the ability to choose one candidate over another. Having just one candidate for the presidency removes our hard-won democratic right to choose.
Third, there is a potential difficulty in having a sole candidate to the office of president who will be in his mid-eighties at the end of his seven-year term of office. The health issues at that age increase the likelihood that the incumbent would have to retire early on health grounds. The electorate should be able to choose a younger person if it so wishes.
Finally, failing to bother with an election demeans the importance of the office of president. It suggests a nihilistic attitude that the presidency is not worth the trouble and expense of an election.
The political parties, and any other groups with influence, should begin working immediately on ensuring that we have a range of appropriate candidates next year. – Yours, etc,