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How Canadian and Irish Mayors are Chosen

Which method do you prefer? In Ottawa, Canada's capital, the city's Mayor is elected by its citizens and serves for a set term of three years. Ottawans are free to re-elect an incumbent, and in fact popular Mayors may serve a number of consecutive terms. Party politics are not a consideration.

In Dublin, Ireland's capital, the city's Lord Mayor is not elected by its citizens, and holds office for one year only. Party politics are a prime consideration. The person who becomes Lord Mayor is selected by the members of the City Councillors on a rotating party basis. Dubliners at large do not have any say in the matter.

The methods by which the two capitals choose their Mayors are a topical subject for this web site linking Canada and Ireland because both cities will be engaged in electing or selecting a first citizen in this, the same year, 2003.

The new Lord Mayor of Dublin will be selected in early June. And Ireland, being Ireland, party politics dictate that this year the chosen one will be a member of the Fianna Fail (Soldiers of Destiny) Party. Its leader is the current Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Bertie Ahern. Normally he is the one who decides who will be the party nominee, but this year he is facing a dilemma. He has two brothers, Noel and Maurice. Noel is a junior Minister in Bertie's s government, and Maurice is a Dublin City councillor. Noel is supporting his Dáil secretary, Cllr. Deirdre Heney, and Maurice, a former Lord Mayor himself, is supporting Cllr. Royston Brady, whose brother, Cyprian, is one of the eleven buckshee nominees appointed to the Irish Senate by the aforesaid Taoiseach.

The Ahern family is in a pickle. Bertie, Noel, and Maurice, may be reduced to a game of tic tac toe, and the only way to avoid political fratricide is if Bertie rejects both of his brothers' choices and nominates someone else.

Meanwhile the citizens of Ottawa, all of them who exercise their civic duty, will choose their next Mayor in open, free elections in September.

Which method do you prefer?


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