Irish Republican News · May 7, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Anger over election chaos
Anger over election chaos

The electoral system in the North has been branded a “laughing stock” by a leading academic, while the last speaker of the Stormont assembly has branded it a “disgrace”.

Wille Hay expressed his frustration today with the way the count system has been conducted after a total recount was called in his Foyle constituency late last night.

After the Electoral Commission concluded that the figures for Foyle did not add up the entire counting process was ordered to be restarted this morning. Hay had already topped the poll in Foyle for the Democratic Unionist Party.

Earlier University of Ulster lecturer Dr Deirdre Heenan said the delays to the count had made the Six Counties a laughing stock.

The chaos included staff having to give ballot papers the hair dryer treatment in Fermanagh/South Tyrone because a number of ballot boxes had been contaminated with rain water while in Omagh, West Tyrone an entire pile of ballot papers were scattered onto the counting room floor because a table collapsed. Overall it took ten hours yesterday before the first result was declared in Newry/Armagh.

Count frustration boiled over for members of Jim Allister’s Traditional Unionist Voice clashed with members of the Democratic Unionist Party in Ballymena late on Friday night, with the PSNI police required to intervene.

It was also reported that there was assault during another incident between the two parties’ supporters on Thursday night. Allister is still in the running for a seat in the North Antrim constituency, but his election appears less assured as he struggles to gain preferences.

Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness who was elected with ease in Mid Ulster, said there was “considerable dismay” over the delay in vote counting across constituencies.

The DUP and Sinn Fein are still poised to return as the two largest parties in the Assembly, but the last seats in many constituencies are still proving difficult to predict.

A drop in nationalist turnout appeared even greater than that among unionists, and overall, there was a swing from nationalism to unionism of 0.4%.

The DUP took 30% of first preference votes across the North, which will see them remain the largest party in Stormont, followed by Sinn Fein with the next largest share on 26.9%.

Next are the SDLP with 14.2% of the first preference share, then the UUP on 13.2%, Alliance on 7.7% and TUV with 2.5%.

There was a surprise development overnight in Upper Bann, where Sinn Fein narrowly missed out on a breakthrough second seat as second and lower order preferences were allocated. The seat instead went to nationalist rivals, the SDLP.

Successful SF candidate John O’Dowd said he was disappointed not to bring his colleague with him.

“We fought this election on the principal that there are three nationalist seats,” he said. He called for co-operation with the SDLP in the constituency.

Dolores Kelly, who retained her seat in Upper Bann after the count was completed in the early hours of Saturday, said a large number of nationalists had not voted. There was “work to be done” on improving voter turnout, she said.

In the first tangible electoral shift of the election, the DUP pipped the SDLP to take the last seat in South Antrim, shutting the SDLP’s Thomas Burns out of Stormont.

On the Assembly results, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the smaller UUP and SDLP had tried to criticise the Stormont power-sharing government, despite being part of it, and appeared to have been punished by voters.

He added: “I think the problem for the SDLP and the UUP is that... they tried to cast themselves very artificially as being in government and opposition at the same time. That doesn’t work.”

A full table of the election results so far is included below.

AV rejected

Meanwhile, a referendum to change the way British MPs are elected has been strongly rejected.

The final result of the vote in Britain and the Six Counties saw the Alternative Vote system rejected by more than two to one. Opinion polls had shown support for the change plunge in recent weeks following a concerted Tory media campaign in the face of lacklustre support from the Liberal Democrats and the British Labour Party.

In the North of Ireland, which declared a result in the early hours of the morning, a total of 372,706 people voted No, while 289,088 supported the Yes camp.

The meant the final total stood at 13,013,123 votes for the No campaign, and 6,152,607 for the Yes to AV - the equivalent of 67.9 per cent to 32.1 per cent.

Britain’s deputy prime minister Nick Clegg described as “a bitter blow” that the alternative vote system, a key element of his coalition pact with the Tories, was rejected.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he hoped both sides would “move on” from the referendum dispute.

ASSEMBLY RESULTS

Results so far (seats won, first preference vote, and change since 2007):

DUP     22  30.0%   -0.1%
SF      15  26.9%   +0.8%
SDLP    6   14.2%   -1.0%
UUP     6   13.2%   -1.7%
AP      3   7.7%    +2.5%
TUV     0   2.5%    +2.5%
Oth.    0   5.4%    -2.9%

Results by constituency:

Results are listed here for the parties in terms of seats won so far, first preference votes and their change in first preference vote since 2007.

Note some constituencies have shifted their boundaries, while a number of minor parties such as the UK Unionist Party were not standing on this occasion.

East Antrim

DUP     1   46.2    +0.7
UUP     0   16.9    -5
AP      0   15.5    -0.2
SF      0   8.2     +4.3
SDLP    0   4.6     -1.3

Elected: Sammy Wilson -- DUP

East Belfast

DUP     2   44.1    +6.4
AP      0   26.3    +7.5
UUP     0   9.7     -12.3
PUP     0   4.6     -5.7
SF      0   3.2     -0.4

Elected: Robin Newton -- DUP, Peter Robinson -- DUP

East Derry

DUP     1   36.9    -2.9
SF      0   21.1    +1
SDLP    1   14.9    +1.9
UUP     0   8.4     -10
AP      0   5.5     +1.4

Elected: Gregory Campbell -- DUP, John Dallat - SDLP

Fermanagh/South Tyrone

SF      1   40.3    +4
DUP     1   24.4    -1.1
UUP     1   19.3    -0.4
SDLP    0   9.6     -4.4
AP      0   1.8     +0.6

Elected: Tom Elliott -- UUP, Arlene Foster -- DUP, Michelle Gildernew -- SF

Foyle

SDLP    1   35.3    -1.7
SF      1   34      +3.2
DUP     1   18.4    +1.5
AP      0   0.9     +0.3
UUP     0   0       -4.3

Elected: William Hay -- DUP, Martina Anderson -- SF, Mark H Durkan - SDLP

Lagan Valley

DUP     2   53.1    +5.1
UUP     1   20.4    +1.8
AP      0   12.4    +3.4
SDLP    0   6.1     -0.7
SF      0   3.4     -8.8

Elected: Basil McCrea -- UUP, Edwin Poots -- DUP, Jonathan Craig - DUP

Mid-Ulster

SF      1   49.2    +1.6
DUP     1   16.7    -2.8
SDLP    0   14.7    -2.8
UUP     0   10.3    -0.5
AP      0   0.9     +0.4

Elected: Ian McCrea -- DUP, Martin McGuinness -- SF

Newry and Armagh

SF      3   40.8    -1.2
SDLP    1   23.5    +3.8
UUP     1   18.7    +5.6
DUP     1   13.1    +0.2
AP      0   1.6     +1

Elected: Danny Kennedy -- UUP, William Irwin -- DUP, Dominic Bradley -- SDLP, Cathal Boylan -- SF, Mickey Brady -- SF, Conor Murphy -- SF

North Antrim

DUP     2   47.6    -1.4
SF      1   15.3    -0.7
UUP     0   11.7    -2.6
SDLP    0   9.1     -3.1
AP      0   4.6     +1.8

Elected: Paul Frew -- DUP, Mervyn Storey -- DUP, Daithi McKay -- SF

North Belfast

DUP     1   37.1    -0.3
SF      1   31.9    +1.3
SDLP    0   12      -1.7
UUP     0   8.2     -0.2
AP      0   6.3     +4.6

Elected: Nelson McCausland -- DUP, Gerry Kelly -- SF

North Down

DUP     1   44.2    +10.1
AP      0   18.6    +8.4
UUP     0   10.4    -13.3
GRN     0   7.9     -1.4
SDLP    0   2.7     -0.9
SF      0   1       -0.2

Elected: Gordon Dunne -- DUP, Alex Easton -- DUP, Peter Weir -- DUP

South Antrim

DUP     3   38.3    +3.8
UUP     1   17.8    -2.7
SF      1   14.5    -2
AP      1   14.2    +1
SDLP    0   10.6    -0.5

Elected: Danny Kinahan -- UUP, Trevor Clarke -- DUP, Paul Girvan -- DUP, Pam Lewis -- DUP, Mitchel McLaughlin -- SF, David Ford -- Alliance (DUP gain from SDLP)

South Belfast

DUP     0   24.3    +1.9
SDLP    1   23.9    -2.9
AP      1   19.8    +7.2
UUP     0   13.6    -4.8
SF      0   12.5    -0.7

Elected: Dr Alasdair McDonnell -- SDLP, Anna Lo -- Alliance

South Down

SDLP    1   35.8    +4.4
SF      1   30.9    +0.2
DUP     0   12.5    -5.2
UUP     0   10.6    +0.9
UKIP    0   5.6     +2.9
GRN     0   2.7     -0.9
AP      0   2.1     +0.6

Elected: Margaret Ritchie -- SDLP, Caitriona Ruane -- SF

Strangford

DUP     2   48.8    -1.4
UUP     0   20.4    +2.3
AP      1   14.4    +3.1
SDLP    0   8.5     0
SF      0   3       0

Elected: Jonathan Bell -- DUP, Michelle McIlveen -- DUP, Kieran McCarthy -- Alliance

Upper Bann

SF      1   27.2    +1.9
DUP     0   27.1    -4.3
UUP     0   24.6    +3.4
SDLP    0   11.4    -1.3
AP      0   6.5     +4.7

West Belfast

SF      2   66.1    -3.8
SDLP    0   13.2    +1
DUP     0   7.5     -3.4
PBPA    0   4.8     +2.5
UUP     0   4.2     +2.6

Elected: Paul Maskey -- SF, Jennifer McCann -- SF

West Tyrone

SF      2   50.2    +7.8
DUP     0   23.1    +2.7
UUP     0   10.3    +1.9
SDLP    0   8.6     -5.3
Ind.    0   5.0     +1.3

Elected: Pat Doherty -- SF, Barry McElduff -- SF (Recount under way)

© 2011 Irish Republican News