Stormont election results

The first results are coming in today from the Northern Ireland Assembly elections. The final shape of the Assembly won’t be clear until the later counts tomorrow, but the first preference figures make for some interesting comparisons with the last time out

Assembly election    2003                    2007
DUP                        177,470                207,721        +30,251
Sinn Fein                 162,758                180,573        +17,815
SDLP                      117,547                105,064         -12,483
Ulster Unionists        156,931                103,145         -53,786
Alliance                     25,372                  36,139        +10,767
Greens                        2,688                  11,985        +9,297
UKUP                         4,794                  10,552         +5,758
PUP                           8,032                    3,822         -4,210

The basic trend of recent elections in the North has continued. With the DUP gaining at the expense of the Ulster Unionists, and similar if slightly less marked shift to Sinn Fein from the SDLP.

THe Ulster Unionists’ poor performance have seen them drop behind the SDLP in terms of votes. Indeed, so bad is it, that by my rough reckoning it brings the ‘capital-U’ unionist vote below 50 per cent of the poll, notwithstanding the strong performance of the DUP. By contrast, the overall nationalist vote is up as Sinn Fein’s growth outweighed the SDLP’s decline.

Part of the UUP vote went to the Alliance, which many would regard as a ‘small-U’ unionist party. Indeed, the strong Alliance performance may have a sting in the tail for nationalists, in that along with the DUP and the Conservatives (who performed dismally as ever) they oppose the designation system, under which contentious legislation must have the support of a majority among both unionists and nationalists.

The other centrist party to do well, the Greens, could be the second all-island group in the Assembly if it succeeds in taking a seat in North Down.

The hardline unionist and republican challengers performed, and it at the time of writing it looks like Bob McCartney will lose his seat in North Down. Both communities have arguably voted for tough negotiators and tough negotiations are what will now follow.






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