Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Question 348: To ask the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government the date on which the forthcoming Presidential election will be held; the earliest and latest date on which this election may be held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17565/11]
Question 349: To ask the Minister for the Environment; Community and Local Government the procedure that has to be followed by a local authority to nominate a candidate to contest the Presidential election; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17566/11]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 348 and 349 together.
The term of office of the current President expires on 10 November 2011. Article 12.3.3 of the Constitution provides that an election for the office of President shall be held in the 60 day period before the expiry of the term of office of the President. This gives a period commencing on 11 September 2011 and ending on 10 November 2011. No decision has been made on the date of the election.
Article 12.4.2 of the Constitution provides for the participation by County and City Councils in the nomination process for Presidential candidates. A candidate in the Presidential election needs to be nominated by not less than twenty members of the Houses of the Oireachtas or by not less than four City or County Councils. The nomination process is a reserved function of the Councils and is regulated by law under section 16 of the Presidential Elections Act 1993. The main points arising are as follows:
· Councils may, by resolution, resolve to nominate one candidate,
· Not less than 3 clear days notice of the intention to propose the resolution must be given in writing to every person, who, at the time when the notice is given, is a member of the Council,
· A resolution under section 16 of the Act cannot be passed before the making of the Presidential Election Order – this Order, which is made under section 6 of the Act, sets out the last day on which the Presidential Returning Officer may receive nominations, the date and time of the poll at the election and other details, and
· The resolution of the Council must be given effect by means of a nomination paper, as prescribed in the Presidential Elections (Forms) Regulations 2011, sealed with the seal of the Council and delivered to the Presidential Returning Officer.
To assist Councils in this matter, a circular, detailing the process and the legislative provisions, was sent by my Department to each City and County Manager on 10 May 2011. At this early stage, no Presidential Election Order has been made and no Presidential Returning Officer has been appointed.