The key difference between Assembly 2016 and Assembly 2017 is that only five MLAs will be elected from each constituncy. For at least eighteen MLAs and their staff, this election has come four years too early.
The percentage of votes required to get elected…the quota…will be higher but I am not thinking in terms of percentages. Rather I am thinking in terms of votes cast in May last year and the number of votes likely to be cast this year.
Too often …analysts with some justification …focus on the statistics of elections. Arguably this one is different. There might actually be Politics involved.
So East Belfast.
May 2016: Quota 5311
DUP (3 seats) 13647
Alliance (2 seats) 10659
UUP (1 seat) 4142
Others: Green 2185, PUP 1772, SF 946, TUV 887, UKIP 631, Lab 517, Tory 471, SDLP 141, Lab (again!) 78,
DUP: Robin Newton, Joanne Bunting, David Douglas,
Newton (The Speaker) and Bunting are outgoing and Douglas replaces his father.
Alliance: Naomi Long, Chris Lyttje
Both are outgoing. Alliance had a third runner in 2016.
Outgoing. Two runners last time.
Green: Georgina Milne.
PUP: John Kyle.
Sinn Féin: Mairead O’Donnell.
TUV: Andrew Girvan.
Tory: Sheila Bodel.
Some Kinda Labour: Courtney Robinson.
SDLP: Seamus de Faoite.
Independent: J McKeag
There are three scenarios.
People will be so disgusted at Stormont itself, that they just dont come out.
They are so disgusted at DUP-Sinn Féin, they will turn out.
DUP and Sinn Féin will play the bogey man card and people do turn out.
My gut feeling is that this election is a little like the 1998 Referendum on the Good Friday Agreement. Unlikely people will vote.
I am guessing at 38,000 valid votes and a quota of around 6,300 plus.
Question 1….will DUP vote go up or down? I dont think that RHI will play well in East Belfast…not a big place for chickens. So I would say DUP vote will go down….12,000 maybe.
Alliance….up or down? Well Greens had targeted a seat here but Ross Brown leaving the local scene and just five seats this time…Id say Alliance will gain some votes. Again 12,000 maybe.
This means that with DUP and Alliance on just about two quotas, they are safe for two seats.
UUP….up or down? I cant see any more than 5,000 and thats still a way off quota. The candidate will need transfers.
TUV will go up in votes. No UKIP this time….up to 2,000 votes there.
PUP again might get 2,000.
My mate Seamus and Courtney Robinson will transfer into the middle ground as will the latest O’Donnell from Short Strand.
The Tory will transfer to mostly UUP.
A lot depends on whether TUV or PUP hold their votes and attract transfers. Who will be eliminated first. If DUP are “balanced” they wont be elected early. Indeed Alliance might have their two home first.
Which DUP people are elected will be determined by Girvin and Kyle.
My prediction. DUP 2: Alliance 2: UUP 1: