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The Independent Forum is a non-partisan movement to discuss the role of the independent politician in modern democracy.

Up until the mid-19th century it was generally held that political parties were bad for democracy. They distorted the link between the state and the citizen. In contrast, independents were seen as paragons of virtue and the best means of representing the people\'s interests.
These images have now been reversed. Strong parties are now believed to be necessary for politics to function, with independents claimed to be obstacles to the efficient workings of government.
Are such portrayals true depictions of the function that parties and independents can fulfil in modern society?

In an era when parties\' esteem has never been so low and when the democratic deficit is growing, there needs to be consideration of the role that independent politicians can play in a modern democracy. Directly accountable to the people, perhaps the independent path is the avenue that needs to be considered to reclaim the link between the citizen and the state and to restore public faith in democracy.

The Independent Forum has received the backing of independent politicians at national and local level.

An Independent Presidency

Current opinion polls indicate that the four independent candidates in the presidential race between them are attracting 50 per cent of the first preferences. If there is a high rate of transferability between these candidates, it could result in the first victory by an independent not backed by a political party at a competitive presidential election.

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Should the nomination process for the presidency be opened up?

Despite being an office designed to represent all the people, the presidency remains firmly in the control of the political parties. This is due to the extremely restrictive process to run as a candidate, the qualification for which is the support of twenty Oireachtas members or four county and city councils. While the 2011 contest is the first time in the modern era that there are sufficient independent members of the Oireachtas should they be united behind a candidate, we cannot always expect there to be such numbers in the Dáil and Seanad. Any prospective candidate is thus dependent on the support of one or more political parties. Is this fair? Should the nomination process be opened up to all citizens who do not have the support of the parties? Lest some fear that this would give rise to a plethora of candidates, limitations could be stipulated such as the provision of a reasonable number of signatures. In any case, it is not as if independents have been absent from Áras an Uachtaráin. Douglas Hyde, the first president, was nominated as an independent, as was Mary Robinson in 1990 and Mary McAleese in 2004. So the question remains, do we want to open up the presidency to independents? In addition, as someone aged under 35, do we also want to retain the ban on this age group running for the office?

The launch of an independent forum

Welcome to

An online forum for and about independent politicians

Blogs and debates on issues pertaining to independents will appear here.