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The Irish presidential election of 1959 was held on 17 June 1959. Éamon de Valera, then Taoiseach, was elected as president of Ireland. A referendum proposed by de Valera to replace the electoral system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote with first-past-the-post voting which was held on the same day was defeated by 48.2% to 52.8%.
Under Article 12 of the Constitution of Ireland, a candidate for president may be nominated by:
Outgoing president Seán T. O'Kelly had served two terms, and was ineligible to serve again. On 27 April, the Minister for Local Government signed the ministerial order opening nominations, with noon on 19 May as the deadline for nominations, and 17 June set as the date for a contest. All Irish citizens on the Dáil electoral register were eligible to vote.
Éamon de Valera who had served as President of Dáil Éireann and President of the Irish Republic from 1919 to 1922 during the Irish revolutionary period, as President of the Executive Council from 1932 to 1937, and as Taoiseach from 1937 to 1948, from 1951 to 1954, and again from 1957 until his election as president, was nominated by Fianna Fáil on 12 May. He had served as Fianna Fáil's leader since its foundation in 1926.
Patrick McCartan, who had also been a candidate in the 1945 election and had served as a senator for Clann na Poblachta from 1948 to 1951, was nominated by two county councils only, short of the four required for nomination. Eoin O'Mahony also sought and failed to secure a nomination by county councils.
Éamon de Valera was inaugurated as president on 25 June.
|Irish presidential election 1959|
|Candidate||Nominated by||% 1st Pref||Count 1|
|Éamon de Valera||Oireachtas: Fianna Fáil||56.3||538,003|
|Seán Mac Eoin||Oireachtas: Fine Gael||43.7||417,536|
|Electorate: 1,678,450 Valid: 955,539 Spoilt: 24,089 (2.5%) Quota: 477,770 Turnout: 58.3%|
|Constituency||De Valera||Mac Eoin|
|Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown||16,911||53.0||14,982||47.0|