Ireland’s Labor Party Candidate Set to be Next President

Posted October 29th, 2011 at 5:55 am (UTC-5)
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Human rights activist and poet Michael Higgins is set to be named as Ireland's next president when final election results are announced on Saturday.

Election officials say the Labor Party candidate received almost 40-percent of all first-preference votes in Thursday's polling, which gives him a sizable lead over the other six candidates.

His strongest challenger, businessman and reality television celebrity Sean Gallagher, conceded defeat on Friday.

Higgins will succeed Mary McAleese, who held the symbolic post for 14 years.

Voters also cast ballots on several referendums, including one that would give the government authority to cut the pay of judges and another that asks if lawmakers should be allowed to conduct fact finding inquiries.