Decline in number favouring second term for President Higgins

A number of prospective candidates have indicated interest in running for the office

President Michael D Higgins: He has not yet indicated if he intends to contest a second term. Photograph:  Brian Lawless

President Michael D Higgins: He has not yet indicated if he intends to contest a second term. Photograph: Brian Lawless

 

A comfortable majority of voters wants President Michael D Higgins to serve a second term, the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll has found, though support for the President to stay on has declined since last year.

Some 59 per cent of voters say they want Mr Higgins to serve a second term as President, with 31 per cent disagreeing and 10 per cent offering no opinion.

This represents a decline of 5 per cent since October, when the question was last asked in an Irish Times poll.

The President’s term of office expires in the autumn of this year. He has not yet indicated if he intends to contest a second term. Running in the presidential election of 2011, Mr Higgins – who is now 76 – said he would serve only one term but has hinted a number of times that he might seek a second term.

A number of prospective candidates have indicated their interest in running for the office. Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell has said he will seek a nomination, while the Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said there should be a contest for the position and he may run to ensure one. Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly has also indicated he may consider a bid.

Other Fianna Fáil sources have said that former taoiseach Bertie Ahern may be interested in a run, although leadership sources have discounted this. Independent MEP Luke “Ming” Flanagan said during the week that if Mr Ahern runs for the presidency he would consider running against him.

Nomination

As President Mr Higgins has the power to nominate himself for a second term.

Any challengers have various methods of seeking the nomination. One is to secure the signature of 20 members of the Oireachtas – TDs and Senators – and another is to secure the majority backing of four local authorities to enter the race.

The poll was conducted on Monday and Tuesday of this week among a representative sample of 1,200 voters aged 18 and over in face-to-face interviews at 120 sampling points in all constituencies.

The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 per cent.