The world media have been casting their eye over the seven candidates running in today’s presidential election and have scrutinised their every move. Much of the reports coming from abroad focus primarily on the tussle between Michael D Higgins and Sean Gallagher, while others reflect upon Martin McGuinness` past affiliations with the IRA.
Reuters reports the election as a three way contest pitting a “former guerrilla commander” against a television star and politician-turned-poet (Michael D. Higgins).
The news agency claims that McGuinness’s candidacy shook up the “dull race” but adds that although he is unlikely to win, running gave a “fillip to his party…and its campaign for a united Ireland”.
Al Jazeera also leads with Derry native McGuinness – with a headline reading “IRA commander eyes presidency”. The Middle East news agency says that he is still suffering due to the constant scrutiny from a “hostile media” and a public unwilling to forgive.
The Washington Post describes the Sinn Féin candidate as a “former Irish Republican Army warlord”. It also depicts David Norris as Ireland’s “top gay-rights crusader”.
Seán Gallagher is called a “bagman – a collector of undisclosed and potentially corrupt donations – for Fianna Fáil” in the same article.
However, the New York Times takes a different angle on the story, stating that the Sinn Féin candidate’s estimated 15 per cent support is a sign of the “winds of reconciliation” blowing across the island.
In England, The Independent writes that the result of the election could hinge on one word – “envelope”. It says that Gallagher has experienced a “meteoric plunge” in the past few days since Mondays Frontline debate broke his stronghold and blew the race for the presidency wide open.
There has been much coverage of the elections abroad in an attempt to keep the Irish diaspora informed however a stronger reason for such a level of coverage largely relates to the controversies and scandals that have dogged the campaign throughout.