The Irish presidential election of 1966 was the fifth presidential election in Ireland and was held on 1 June 1966. Outgoing president Éamon de Valera, 83 and with a rapidly deteriorating eyesight, reluctantly agreed under pressure from his Fianna Fáil party to seek a second term. Fine Gael decided to run one of its younger TDs, Tom O'Higgins, against him. In an astonishing upset, O'Higgins came within 1% (or 10,718 votes) of defeating de Valera, who had been the predominant force of the republic since 1932 and led the government for decades until his ascent to the presidency in 1959. De Valera left the blame for this near-defeat with his campaign manager Charles Haughey.