Michael D. Higgins has become the 9th president of Ireland after winning over 1,007,104 votes out of the total 1,771,762 votes cast in the country where the voter turnout was over 55%.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny congratulated and praised Labour candidate Higgins as the best choice for president and “personality” over the next seven years.
The winner of international peace prizes and a champion of peace abroad, Higgins was also responsible for the rise of Ireland’s modern film industry. He also established TG4, set up numerous centres of culture and supported sports and theatres around the country.
Higgins will be inaugurated into his office on the 11th of November and will only serve one term in office, a revelation he made earlier in his campaign.
The six defeated candidates have heaped praise on the 70 year old. His nearest challenger Sean Gallagher said the campaign had been very challenging at times. But he said Michael D Higgins had run his campaign with dignity and decorum. He said Higgins will be an outstanding President.
Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said it was a honour to stand and described it as the “experience of a lifetime”. He was very proud that 250,000 people voted for him.
He said Mr Higgins has “great intellectual capacity” and a “huge heart” and would make a very fine President. He urged the new President to continue the work of the President and Martin McAleese in building bridges in the North.
David Norris said Mr Higgins would be a great President. He described him as a poet, visionary, academic and scholar who was passionately committed to justice and human rights.
Mr Norris said the President-elect was the only “political millionaire” in the country because he had got over a million votes.
Dana Rosemary Scallon said it had been a great honour to be part of the election campaign and was pleased to be standing at the end of it. She wished Mr Higgins well in his work over the next seven years for the good of the country.
All of the defeated candidates thanked their families and supporters for their efforts, and recorded their appreciation for the work of the Presidential Returning Officer, Ríona Ní Fhlanghaile.
A spokesperson for Mary Davis said that she congratulated Michael D Higgins yesterday and spent today with her family. Gay Mitchell has also thanked Higgins privately.