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Michael Higgins elected President of Ireland

2011 Irish presidential election contested by a record seven candidates.

2011 Irish presidential election contested by a record seven candidates.

The former president of the Labour Party, Michael Higgins, became the ninth President of the Republic of Ireland after winning the Irish presidential election on October 27th 2011.

In August 2011 there were just two candidates in the presidential race; a record seven candidates declared their nomination before the deadline on 28 September 2011.

Mr Higgins won with 1,007,104 votes (56.8%) and the second placed candidate was independent Seán Gallagher with 628,114 votes (35.5%).

Mr Gallagher, who was the frontrunner in the opinion polls, suffered a severe campaign setback after he was accused of collecting funds from a corrupt Fianna Fáil businessman.

For the first time in any presidential election, Fianna Fáil neither ran a candidate nor supported the nomination of a candidate.

Born on 18 April 1941 from a humble background, Michael Higgins was first elected to the Irish Parliament in 1981 as a Labour Party candidate for Galway West. He served as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht from 1993-1997 and as Mayor of Galway between 1982-1983 and 1991-1992.

In his Galway constituency, several thousand people lined the streets of the city to welcome him home after winning the election.

Mr Higgins, who was president of the Labour Party of Ireland until the presidential election, is also an author, sociologist, poet, and broadcaster.

Michael Higgins is to be inaugurated as the ninth President of Ireland at Dublin Castle on 11 November 2011.

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