Monday, June 08, 2009

Euro Election First Preferences

The BBC have just reported on the first preference votes from the Northern Ireland constituency European Election count:

Stephen Agnew, Green Party - 15,764
Jim Allister, Traditional Unionist Voice - 66,197
Bairbre De Brun, Sinn Fein - 126,184
Diane Dodds, DUP - 88,346
Alban Maginness, SDLP - 78,489
Jim Nicholson, Ulster Conservative and Unionist - 82,893
Ian Parsley, Alliance - 26,699
Quota: 121,144

Sinn Fein comfortably topped the poll, and gain the first seat, and it looks like both Dodds (DUP) and Nicholson (UUP) will be elected in the later rounds of the count.

Some initial thoughts:

Jim Allister has polled extremely well, and will be confident of gaining a number of seats in the next Stormont Assembly election. The media are reporting his considerable share of votes as a protest against the DUP, but they could also be the result of people voting for a consistent hard-working MEP for Northern Ireland.

This should be a warning for the DUP, who appear to be moving away from their traditional ground of being the protest vote, and are maturing into government with Sinn Fein. Despite their rhetoric of controlling Sinn Fein, a sizeable proportion of previous DUP voters have abandoned them in this election - and will worry them if this continues in future elections.

If this pattern was repeated in an Assembly election, then Sinn Fein would have the right of nomination of the First Minister, and the DUP would be nominated for Deputy First Minister. Perhaps because of this possibility, such a vote would not be repeated in Assembly elections. The fear among Unionists of having a Shinner as First Minister of Northern Ireland might convince many to vote DUP to prevent this. Although that remains to be seen.

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