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Quick Impressions of the NI Assembly Elections May 7, 2011

Posted by Garibaldy in Democratic Unionist Party, Irish Republican Socialist Party, Northern Ireland, Socialist Party, Socialist Workers' Party, Workers' Party.

Results so far (early hours of Saturday morning but should be updated regularly).

A very good day for the DUP; a very bad one for the UUP and TUV.

SF has done well, SDLP not so well.

Alliance has done very well, including topping the poll in South Belfast.

DUP/SF increasingly dominant – around twice as many votes as their UUP/SDLP rivals.

Greens in with a real chance of a seat in North Down.

Dawn Purvis nearly certain to lose her seat, and Brian Ervine won’t retake it for the PUP.

Very good election for the PBPA, although I’m not sure there will be enough transfers for McCann to take the seat looking at how close the SDLP candidate ranked 7th is after the first count, and vote of lowest place SF and SDLP candidates. West Belfast result also eye-catching, more than doubling the vote to 1661 (4.8%). Please correct me if this is a mistake but looking at Belfast City Council’s list of candidates for west Belfast constituences, I don’t think the PBPA is standing in the local council elections in west Belfast, making it harder to judge to what those votes are overwhelmingly a core PBPA vote, or if some have been leant to them by éirígí/IRSP-type voters given that these parties aren’t standing in the Assembly election, but are standing in the council. I heard one estimate that put éirígí on around 1,000 (I think for both Upper and Lower Falls combined, but forgot to ask) although the council counting will be much slower than the Assembly.

Results in south and east Belfast for the left could have been better but the PBPA will think it did quite well in south Belfast. This is fairly worring given that they would have in the past been places the left would have looked to for growth.

The Socialist Party will probably be most pleased with its 384 votes in west Belfast (1.1%) out of the constituencies where it ran, while the south and east Belfast votes are fairly static.

The Workers’ Party vote in east and south Belfast is pretty static, but more than doubled in North Belfast (possibly the most sectarian electoral area in NI) to 332 (1%), its highest vote there since the early 1990s and had the highest number and percentage for more than a decade in west Belfast (586, 1.7%).

The total vote for the WP, PBPA, and SP is close to 7,500, (1.1% of the overall vote), with most of it going to the PBPA as expected. If you were to take Dawn Purvis’s 1,700-odd votes as primarily left votes (and there are reasons not to), about 1.4%. This gives a pretty sobering assessment of where the left stands in NI, especially when you remember the disproportionate percentage of the vote achieved by two candidates.

The council elections results are going to be more interesting still in light of these results, especially in Derry.


1. roasted snow - May 7, 2011

Good to see the TUV not really making headway. Looks like McGuinness will not qualify for First Minister given SF percentage share. Has SDLP percentage share increased?


2. Justin Moran - May 7, 2011

The SDLP are down from 15.2 per cent to 14.2 per cent. Looks like they’ll drop a seat in Fermanagh South Tyrone and they’re struggling in North Antrim and West Tyrone. Their only chance of a gain is Joe Boyle in Strangford, but you’d want to be optimistic.

Good summary by Garibaldy, though since I would include Sinn Féin in the left category I happen to think it’s not been a bad day overall for the left. 🙂

But leaving that aside I’m fascinated that PBP didn’t bother contesting any Council elections. If that 1,600 votes was theirs, and was in a tight geographic area, they’d be serious contenders for a Council seat. The Lower Falls quota in 2005 wasn’t much more than that.

Also worth considering Garibaldi’s point that PBP in West Belfast is the choice of those people who see themselves as republicans and/or socialists but oppose Sinn Féin. If that’s the case they might have picked up Taylors 400 odd votes from 2007 as well.

A thousand votes for éirigí, whose website almost seems to be hiding the fact they’re contesting elections, won’t be enough to get anyone elected if that’s their combined vote but it might make things tricky for Sinn Féin to hold four in Upper Falls.

Still, there’s always banner drops.


3. tomasoflatharta - May 7, 2011
4. Justin Moran - May 7, 2011

I think he can’t be ruled out but it’s hard to see it happening to be honest. He’s on 3120 with a combined SDLP vote right behind him of 5591 chasing a single seat.

I can’t see Paul Fleming of Sinn Féin taking a seat but you couldn’t rule out him overtaking McCann depending on how Anderson’s transfers break down. Realistically though, McCann should stay ahead of Fleming, but I reckon he’ll be seventh at the end of it.

Oh, and left out from previous post that the SDLP are also in trouble to hold onto the second in South Belfast.


tomasoflatharta - May 7, 2011
5. Socialist Republican - May 7, 2011

The results for the left are actually quite good considering the starting base.

In particular the West Belfast and Foyle votes for PBPA which are very substantial votes, even if Eamonn doesn’t manage to take a seat. Both bode well for the future.

Council results on Monday will be interesting also. Justin is right that 1000 votes (if correct) in west belfast for eirigi wont win them a seat but once again it will be a fairly substantial vote for their first election which will also bode well for the future.

All in all, while the left vote in the 6 remains small there definitely is hope for the future


west voter - May 7, 2011

I suppose we’ll see on MOnday, but I would imagine that the sizable increase in teh PBPO vote in West BElfast came from eirigi/IRSP voters, as neither group was standing in the Assembly but did have people up for the Council seats in West.
If the eirigi/IRSP voters were in the booth, they would be VERY unlikely to vote, SF/WP/SP/SDLP, so the most likley spot for any Assembly vote they did make is PBP – and I know that’s an assumption as a lot would be abstainers on Stormont.

Any more news from Foyle???? Nailbiting


Garibaldy - May 7, 2011

Was just on the phone with someone who’s watching the TV coverage. I think that McCann has said he is unlikely to win.


roasted snow - May 7, 2011

Possible PBPA transfers will elect a unionist in West


6. Garibaldy - May 7, 2011
7. tomasoflatharta - May 7, 2011

McCann does not get a seat in Derry – Finishes 3 SDLP, 2 SF, 1 DUP – no change compared with 2007 :



8. Garibaldy - May 7, 2011

UUP leader Tom Elliot makes a fool of himself, and shows himself to be a bad loser. As well as a reactionary taking his party nowhere.



WorldbyStorm - May 7, 2011

Pathetic. Clearly just emerged from the time machine set to 1982.


Garibaldy - May 7, 2011

Yep. Embarrassing. Saw a tweet saying he’s lost at least one vote forever. Whatever about that, these comments are so astoundingly out of tune with the general mood as to be unbelievable. And with the TUV maybe likely to sneak a single seat, hardly like he is playing to a massive constituency there to be picked up to restore his party’s fortunes.


WorldbyStorm - May 7, 2011

He always seemed a strange choice for the UUP, a sort of wilful turning its back on developments since 1998. But I never thought it was this bad.


Garibaldy - May 7, 2011

Agreed. Seemed like they woke up after the decade before with a horrified look on their face.


que - May 7, 2011

well according to twitter some uup reps were apoloigising to sf about it if thats anything to go.

That and they had a sh!t election. Even if he hadnt done the UDR bigot trick then he would still be looking at being sacked surely?


Garibaldy - May 7, 2011

Who would take over from him though? No real obvious candidate.


Blissett - May 8, 2011

Well, McCrea didnt exactly fall over himself to back Elliots continued leadership after he was elected. Perhaps the UUP will now consider whether a change of direction is worth a shot.


roasted snow - May 7, 2011

Clearly reacting badly to the result, but there is scope for the UUP to pick up the extremist mantle and try and paint the DUP as being too soft on SF in a bid to resurrect fortunes. A bit like what the DUP did to the UUP under Trimble. As the TUV are probably going to dissolve in the wake of their showing there is scope for the UUP to hoover them up if they pursue this sort of extreme positioning. I’m sure SF is actually enjoying this as it will do them no harm in nationalist communities. What will other UUP reps make of this? This is their leader after all.


9. RepublicanSocialist1798 - May 7, 2011

Shame about McCann -he’d have been good to have in there.

He should’ve ran for the council elections – though I think a problem he could’ve had was where he would stand.

Laughed when the mask slipped off Tom Elliott.

@Roasted Snow.

I think unionists there have moved on and most of them are happy enough with the DUP. Don’t think we’ll see the back of the TUV even if their vote dropped – they got someone in which will be a boost for them and well it’ll be a voice for the more extreme.
Too much damage has been done with the UUP. All of the former liberal vote it had has gone mainly to the APNI since the country bumpkin took over. That and the fact that their campaign was so dreadful.


roasted snow - May 7, 2011

Country bumpkin sir? I’ll have you know i hail from the said same county.

Seriously, don’t think Mr E represents mainstream unionist thought though. Great historic victory for Oliver Mcmullan in E Antrim wonder what Tom makes of that? United Ireland by 2016 anyone?


Mark P - May 7, 2011

I don’t think that McCann wants to be on the council.

Some years ago, he did stand for the Council, but he ran in the Waterside Rural ward rather than on the Bogside. At the time, that caused some confusion and was reckoned to be a tactical screw up due to overconfidence. In retrospect, it looks much more likely that he didn’t actually want to win a council seat.


RepublicanSocialist1798 - May 7, 2011

Sincere apologies RS.


10. Garibaldy - May 7, 2011

BBC reporter has just tweeted the following about Mid-Ulster.

Chaos in Mid Ulster Ian Milne SF tries to concede in favour of his running mates but Dep Ret Off won’t let him SF incredulous


11. Justin Moran - May 7, 2011

I think Mark P’s right on McCann. I think he’d see the platform of being an MLA as something he could use effectively as a campaigner and I suspect he’d be right in that.

Being a councillor means actually doing casework on the ground, it’s got a lot less of a platform and a lot more necessary drudgery of the type I can’t see Eamon wanting to do.

Still no wiser why the SWP didn’t run a Council candidate in West Belfast. That approach worked well for them in building up Joan Collins and Boyd Barrett in Dublin.

From a Sinn Féin point of view I think we can be happy enough. Realistically there were only three seats where we were in with a real chance of gains and we took two of them (Fermanagh – South Tyrone and East Antrim). A real shame about missing out on Upper Bann, would have thought that a lot more likely than the Antrim seat.

Roll on the locals on Monday, I think we missed a few chances in 2005 that we won’t let go this time.

And one other thing, this really makes you appreciate RTÉ’s coverage in February. It’s bizarre that they neither UTV nor BBC bothered to put up the figures for anything past the first count. It’s not as if they were coming hot and heavy.


roasted snow - May 7, 2011

The locals: Yes Im keen to see how the SP do in Enniskillen but with SF just taking three in FST could be an SF council. Wonder what Tom E would make of that? Time to move to Mars perhaps.


Ciarán - May 8, 2011

The Belfast Telegraph site has the count details for a number of the constituencies. Here are the West Belfast results.


12. Mark P - May 7, 2011

Joan Collins is not in the SWP, Justin. And she was an independent rather than a People Before Profit member when she won her council seat.

I have no idea why they aren’t running for the council in West Belfast.


13. Justin Moran - May 7, 2011

Sorry Mark, my mistake. You’re hundred per cent right.


14. Garibaldy - May 7, 2011
15. WorldbyStorm - May 7, 2011

Good day for SF. Ironic the Greens held on.


16. FightTheCuts - May 8, 2011

I heard Carroll and the irps spoke in advance of the election and also heard eirigi told people to vote for him. Could explain a bit of a bounce for him? This as alluded to above and was likely a contributing factor.

Councils will be interesting later on…


17. ejh - May 8, 2011

If you put

tom elliott controversial speech

into Google, the second result is for the Wikipedia entry on Bob Dylan.


18. Harry Monro - May 8, 2011

Has anyone got a link to the complete results yet, I’m interested in transfers etc, particular in the McCann result but also in West Belfast


Garibaldy - May 8, 2011

Annoyingly, they don’t seem to be online anywhere, and the media didn’t report count by count the way RTÉ does for the southern elections.

Details of elected and first preferences here



irishelectionliterature - May 9, 2011

Theres a supplement with todays Irish Times with Count by Count Details.
Not sure if its online .


19. Garibaldy - May 8, 2011

Tom Elliott’s facebook page makes for some entertaining reading at the minute, although it will probably be cleaned up soon



Crocodile - May 8, 2011

Is the word ‘use’ in common NI use as second person plural – I’ve never seen it written that way before.


Fight the cuts - May 8, 2011

‘use’ as in ‘yous’ as in bad grammar!


20. Justin Moran - May 9, 2011

Interesting Council result: http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/elections/upperfalls.asp

Scroll down and click on the spreadsheet.

Sinn Féin should hold their four in Upper Falls but éirigí polled 1415 votes, almost three quarters of a quota, and only good vote management by SF is ensuring they keep the seat.

The Sinn Féin share of the vote is down to 68 per cent from 75 per cent. They might not take a seat, but a very creditable first time performance.


tomasoflatharta - May 9, 2011

That’s great, thanks for the information link Justin


21. Justin Moran - May 9, 2011

And in the other éirigí seat McCusker polled 647 seats and again the Sinn Féin vote dropped. It was enough to let the SDLP make a gain in the Lower Falls, which no doubt will be the subject of some celebration in éirigí.


Mark P - May 9, 2011

I’m no fan of Eirigi, but it seems a bit presumptious of you to assume that the people who went out and vote for Eirigi or the IRSP in Lower Falls and then didn’t transfer to Sinn Fein would have come out and voted SF in the absence of your republican rivals.


Socialist Republican - May 10, 2011

Justin its a pr election. If those that voted for eirigi would have voted for sf if eirigi had not ran, then sf would have got all those votes back when mc cusker was eliminated.

A very good vote by the way for the left in West Belfast with the PbP vote of 1600? I think in the assembly election and more than 2000 votes for éirígí in the council elections. There is definitely potential there


22. Drithleóg - May 9, 2011

Belfast Council results are on Belfast City Council website http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/elections/index.asp

Results are Excel download sheets.


23. shea - May 9, 2011

the irsp lost out in strabane by something like 0.5 of a vote or something like that.

and fair play to eirigi first time out. w. belfast is a good place for them to make there point.


24. Justin Moran - May 9, 2011

Well I actually don’t Mark. I didn’t mention the IRSP at all but for what it’s worth I’ve pointed out to Shinners elsewhere that the claim from some SF supporters that IRSP transfers gave the SDLP a seat in Oldpark is incorrect.

I’m sure many éirigí voters wouldn’t transfer to Sinn Féin, but in a narrow local election like this, splitting the republican vote did contribute to us losing a seat to the SDLP. Now from an éirigí perspective they’re not going to be upset at us losing a seat, nor would I expect them to be, and arguably it makes the chance of picking one up next time easier for them.

But it’s still legitimate, and not at all presumptuous, to suggest that by splitting the republican vote they helped let the SDLP in. I’m annoyed about it, but it’s not éirigí’s job to help us get seats 🙂


neilcaff - May 10, 2011

It could be argued that SF, by failing to represent the interests and aspirations of those voters of a left republican inclination split the republican.

In a democracy you can’t go around expecting votes from people as if it’s you personal tribute and if other folks come in and get those votes because people feel you haven’t been up to snuff that’s just too bad. If that means another political rival benefits then a party has too options. Change it’s program and policies to win back those voters or blame the people who won those votes from then.


neilcaff - May 10, 2011

Bah, first sentence ends a bit abruptly! the last word should be “voters”.


Blissett - May 10, 2011

In a weird way its probably a good thing. 5 seats in a 5 seater STV ward should be impossible. No one likes losing seats, but that sort of hedgemony isnt healthy, and competition is good. And in any case, 4/5 in both W Belfast seats is fairly sound.

I expect Eirigi to compete for seats next time, but I have seen some of their supports talk about taking ‘that’ seat next time. Which is a mistake, RPA or some variant on it will probably be implemented at some point in the next couple of years, and the absurd amount of councils will be reduced. Now in saying that, Belfast’s quotas probably wont rise too dramatically as its (relatively speaking) underrepresented and particularly so the West, but I would still expect the quota to rise by a few hundred anyway.


Jim Monaghan - May 10, 2011

The thing is that Eirigi nor SF nor anyone else controls where preferences go. I would guess that Eirigi took votes from SF, as Eirigi were eliminated the voters then decided where the vote would go. Advice from Eirigi might persuade them to plump or go somewhere else. Under PR votes do not necessarily die when you vote for a minority candidate or one who is eliminated.
They used to say SF stole votes from the SDLP. Up to recently I think it was the case that SF mobilised those who usually do not vote. In the 26 counties the ULA and SF vote comes from those who are totally ignored by “mainstream” parties. Without ULA and SF they would probably would not vote.
On a footnote ULA in Dun Laoghaire benefited from transfers on the basis of keeping FF out.


25. Captain Rock - May 10, 2011

Any round up of the left-election results? I see from the SWP website that their canvassers were attacked on the Waterside.


yourcousin - May 11, 2011

I like the fact that as they were attacked they yelled out that they were not republicans…


26. Garibaldy - May 11, 2011

There were press reports earlier that the PBP had won a seat in Derry, but that seems not to have been the case now.

Johnny McLaughlin, a left candidate in Omagh, was elected.

The PUP held two seats in Belfast, although apparently Brian Ervine has said it is no longer a viable party. If it goes, that will leave three loyalist councillors in Belfast (Frank McCoubrey being the other) and I think that’s it, though there may be some elsewhere. An apolitical loyalism would not be a good thing.

The IRSP missed out on a seat in Strabane by a percentage of a vote, though I see there is talk of a legal challenge because of a rogue vote being found.

Don’t know if anyone has counted the vote for the left candidates as a whole. PBP vote in Derry from what I saw was quite big, but also smaller than McCann’s Assembly vote I think.


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