The Irish President is elected directly by the people of Ireland for a term of 7 years. They may not serve more than two terms. (In other words, they cannot serve for more than 14 years). Ireland's current President is Michael D. Higgins who commenced his first term as President on 11 November 2011.
The candidates for election must be eligible to become President and must be nominated. The Irish constitution (Bunreacht na hEireann) sets down what these eligibility requirements are. To be eligible for election as President, you must be an Irish citizen and over 35 years old.
A former or retiring President is eligible for re-election and may nominate him/herself.
The election must take place by the date on which the current President's term of office expires but may not take place more than 60 days before this. If the current President is removed, becomes incapacitated, resigns or dies, then an election must be held within the following 60 days.
The Presidential election is by secret ballot and based on proportional representation by the single transferable vote.
Where there is only one candidate nominated for the office of President, it is not necessary to proceed to a ballot for election. This occurred most recently in November 2004 where Mary McAleese was inaugurated as President for a second term without a presidential election as she was the only candidate.The spending limits in a Presidential electon were reduced in 2011. The limit is €750,000 (was €1.3 million) and the amount a candidate can be reimbursed from the State is €200,000 (was €260,000).
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.