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Irish Presidential candidates, from right, Michael D Higgins, Mary Davis, Gay Mitchell, Martin McGuinness, Sean Gallagher, David Norris and Dana Rosemary Scallon Photo by: AP

Live coverage of Ireland's presidential election results

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Irish Presidential candidates, from right, Michael D Higgins, Mary Davis, Gay Mitchell, Martin McGuinness, Sean Gallagher, David Norris and Dana Rosemary Scallon Photo by: AP

LIVE updates below...

Labor Party veteran Michael D. Higgins will be elected the ninth President of Ireland today.

Higgins will be confirmed as the new man at around 4pm Irish time on Saturday afternoon.

Independent candidates Mary Davis, Dana Rosemary Scallon and David Norris have already been eliminated from the count.

Fine Gael’s Gay Mitchell will be next to go as the country awaits confirmation that Higgins is the new President of Ireland.

Barring a major disaster, the final count will see Higgins first, Sean Gallagher second and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness in third position.

Mitchell, Norris, Scallon and Davis will fill the fourth to seventh placings respectively when the curtain comes down on the 2011 Presidential election, the first in 14 years.

“I’m very happy. I’m happy with the vote and the support. I’m very glad that it is so decisive, that the transfers also indicate that it will enable me to be a president for all of the people,” said Higgins.

“I pay tribute to the other candidates for their very long, hard campaign. And they had many good ideas which I will incorporate.

“I have enjoyed the long campaign and I thank the media for their kindness and courtesy.”

Just 56.11 per cent of the eligible population voted in the Presidential election although that figure was 10 points higher than the 1997 poll.

The first count results were Higgins 39.6 per cent; Gallagher 28.5 per cent; McGuinness 13.7 per cent; Mitchell 6.4 per cent; Norris 6.2 per cent; Scallon 2.9 per cent and Davis 2.8 per cent.

The turnout was highest in Dublin North Central (64.01 per cent) and Dublin South (61.93 per cent) and lowest in Donegal South-West (48.42 per cent) and Donegal North-East (48.79 per cent).

Higgins topped the poll in 35 constituencies. Gallagher led in seven and Sinn Féin’s McGuinness in one.

On a double day of celebration for the Labor Party, their candidate Patrick Nulty won the late Brian Lenihan’s West Dublin seat in the Irish parliament.

His victory represented the first by a reigning government party in a by-election since 1982.

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