The President is elected directly. The Presidential Elections Act, 1993 and the Electoral Acts, generally apply.
The Presidential elections take place within sixty days of the end of the President’s seven-year term. Where the President’s term ends early by death, resignation or incapacity, the election must be held within sixty days. The Minister for the Environment appoints the day of the election.
The election takes place by secret ballot proportional representation with a single transferable vote. The entire State is a single constituency. No party affiliations appear on the ballot paper. The electorate are Citizens of Ireland over 18 years old who are ordinarily resident.
A person may not be a candidate for the presidency unless he is 35 years or older. A referendum to reduce the age to 21 years was defeated om 2015. Candidates must be citizens of Ireland.
A President other than one that has served two terms, is eligible for re-election and may nominate himself or herself. Once elected as President, the person concerned vacates his seat as a member of the Dail or Seanad.
The presidential returning officer nominated by the Minister of the Environment and Local Government acts as returning officer. The period for receipt of nominations is set.
The outgoing president may nominate himself or herself. A candidate may be nominated by at least 20 members of the Oireachtas. Each member may support only one candidate.
A candidate may be nominated by four County or City Councils. Each Council may nominate one candidate only. A majority of the council must so resolve. Notice of the proposed meeting must be given to each Councillor.
The validity of nominations is assessed by a judicial assessor who must be a High Court judge. The presidential returning officer may object to inaccurate identification and description proposed for the ballot paper.
If only one candidate is nominated, no election is held. The person stands elected. If nobody is nominated, the nomination process recommences. The procedure for the count is broadly similar to that in respect of a Dail bye-election.