With the European Election tomorrow, I think it would be a good idea to list the ten candidates that are standing. It might help those who do not live in Norn Iron understand the Spectrum.
Three candidates will be elected.
The system of voting is Proportional. So each candidate will be aiming for 25% of the vote …either on first preferences or acquiring transferred votes from candidates already elected or eliminated.
In the polling station, voters will be placing 1,2,3 etc against their chosen candidate.
The Count takes place on Monday.
The figures from a Belfast Telegraph-Lucid Talk poll from three weeks ago are included as an approximate guide to relative support for parties.
The three sitting MEPs are again in the field.
Martina Anderson (Sinn Fein)…26.2% The indications are that the former IRA prisoner will top the poll and might have a small surplus of votes. I regard her as a lightweight but she has performed adequately in debates.
Diane Dodds (Democratic Unionist Party)…20.8%. Not too far away from a quota and will be helped by transfers from smaller unionist parties, as they are eliminated in successive counts. Might be some resentment at the Dodds Family Dynasty as hubby Nigel is MP for North Belfast.
Jim Nicholson (Unionist Party)…14.2%. The veteran lacks charisma and has looked tired during debates. His seat is regarded as the most vulnerable but he is still expected to make it over the finishing line.
I will look at the others in likely order of elimination.
Mark Brotherston (Conservative)…0.8%. Heading for a derisory vote as the Conservative Party means nothing here. Votes to be re-distributed among other right wing parties.
Henry Reilly (United Kingdom Independence Party)…2.1%. UKIP might well be the leading party in Britain after Euro results. It is basically like the Tea Party in USA and effectively a xenophobic and quasi racist breakaway from the Conservative Party. Will not do well here because we have already too many more established right wing nutjobs. His transfers will help Nicholson.
Ross Brown (Green Party)…2.3%. With SF and SDLP the only other left leaning parties, they will pick up transfers (Anderson may be already elected and not need them) and Alliance will pick up some.
Tina Mckenzie (NI21) …3.2%. Hard to say what effect the turmoil today will have on tomorrows voting but I think it safe to say that NI21, the great hope of liberal unionism is now a busted flush. Where do transfers go? Mostly to Alliance with some for Green, UUP and maybe SDLP.
A pause for thought here. At this stage after four eliminations, two candidates Anderson (probably) and Dodds (possibly) will be elected.
So much depends on where the remaining four candidates stand.
Nicholson will have been boosted by unionist transfers. Attwood boosted by SF transfers and possibly Green…UUP and SDLP will be running neck and neck but under the quota.
At this stage I expect Jim Allister (Traditional Ulster Voice) to be ahead of Anna Lo (Alliance Party).
Jim Allister (TUV)…7.8% plus transfers. TUV is a one man band. The forensic and articulate Allister (a barrister) was DUP MEP from 2004 to 2009 and has little respect for DUP. And might just be in with a chance of winning back his seat. He has been a star in the TV debates and has probably closed a lot of the gap with Nicholson.
Anna Lo (Alliance Party)…5.9% plus transfers. The most liberal voice on the Alliance benches at Stormont, the South Belfast MLA, who was born in Hong Kong is often the subject of racist abuse. She has caused some controversy by asserting that Norn Iron is a consequence of colonialism and seemingly endorsing a United Ireland. While Alliance have a “dont ask, dont say” culture, they are at heart a unionist party and this might damage Anna Lo.
The big question at this stage of the count is whether Allister or Lo is eliminated. More likely Lo…and I would expect the lions share of Los transfers would benefit Alex Attwood.
Alex Attwood (SDLP)…16.7% plus transfers but still short of a quota. Attwood has fought this campaign as very much the SDLP-PES candidate. PES (Party of European Socialists) is likely to be the leading party in the new European Parliament. I am of course not neutral (but even people who are not members of SDLP would say he has fought a good campaign).
But at this stage there will be three people (Attwood, Nicholson and Allister) going for one seat. I really doubt that Los transferred vote can keep Attwood ahead of the combined UUP-TUV vote. The transfers of (probably) Allister will elect Nicholson. Or maybe vice versa.
So Anderson, Dodds and (probably) Nicholson.
Alex Attwood has a decent chance of taking the seat. The SDLP would certainly have “come back”. How exactly Sinn Fein and Alliance Party would deal with a re-vitalised SDLP will be interesting. Both have been circulating around SDLP like impatient vultures.
But even clearly establishing itself as the third biggest party in terms of first preference votes would be a boost for SDLP.
And we might just have Nationalists taking two out of the three Norn Iron seats…and that would certainly galvanise voters and concentrate minds.
Except for the fact that Apathy rules.
Turnout is not expected to be above 50%.
Confused by the figures above? This might help. If the Lucid Talk poll is accurate….
The Combined “Unionist” vote is 45.7% (DUP, UUP, TUV, UKIP, Conservative).
The Combined “Nationalist-Leftist” vote is 45.2% (SF, SDLP, Green).
The Combined “LetsGetAlongerist” vote is 9.1% (Alliance, NI21).
So….all to play for.