Many congratulations to Naomi Long and the Alliance party in Northern Ireland – elected by STV!


Many congratulations to Naomi Long on a stunning win in Northern Ireland for our sister party, the Alliance. Naomi, who is the leader of the Alliance party, a former MP and Lord Mayor of Belfast, becomes the Alliance party’s first MEP.

What is particularly heart-warming is that the election was conducted by Single Transferable Vote. Naomi came second in the poll, leapfrogging the candidate who was first on first preferences, due to her strong performance with second preference voting. Against the backdrop of Northern Irish politics, that is quite something. One could say that STV is custom-made for such polarised situations. It’s enough to bring a tear to this old Liberal’s eye!

The Alliance share of the 1st preference votes was 18.5%, which was 11.4 percentage points up on 2014. And 4.1 points higher than their previous high-water mark of 14.4% in the 1977 Council elections.

Naomi said after the result was announced:

People are tired of the fact that the stale politics of the past isn’t delivering. What we are offering for people are solutions to the problems we have, not just more problems.

The people who voted for me came together from right across the community, regardless of unionism, regardless of nationalism, regardless of all those labels.

I will serve them to the absolute best of my ability – they have my word on that.

The round details of the vote count are on Wikipedia.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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7 Comments

  • John Marriott 29th May '19 - 7:09am

    I’m so pleased that the Alliance Party of NI has made such a significant breakthrough. I am always reminded of Paddy’s “Are a Protestant Buddhist or a Catholic Buddhist?” story. With Nationalist MPs still refusing to take their seats, perhaps, one day, the people of the province will have more to represent them other than unionists and, sometimes, the SDLP.

  • Richard Underhill 29th May '19 - 8:50am

    Naomi Long MEP was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 PM programme on 29/5/2019. Hopefully that will happen more often because the DUP MPs are getting a disproportionate share of airtime.
    If the Northern Ireland Secretary really believes in democracy she should ignore the Tory leadership campaign and give priority to doing her own job, as Alliance former leader David Ford said recently.
    The fact that the devolved Assembly has not met since it was most recently elected is an unparalleled disgrace.

  • Chris Bertram 29th May '19 - 10:19am

    “I expect it was older than that. I remember it in a cartoon in the Queen’s University Belfast Rag Mag about 1960, only the victim was apparently a Hindu.” I believe Israeli president Chaim Herzog, who was born in Belfast and had a recognisable Ulster accent when speaking English, also used that joke, of course in his version the subject was a Jew.

  • Would the Conservatives be quite so keen on maintaining the Union with Northern Ireland if Nationalist and Alliance MPs took their seats at Westminster. They seem quite happy to let Scotland go now that most Scots MPs are from the SNP. It would be odd if Britain had two separate independent states (Scotland and England & Wales) and Ireland was divided between an Independent South and a British North. It would be easier for everyone if it was the other way round. Let us hope common sense prevails some day.

  • Congratulations to Naomi and The Alliance Party on their success. STV shows how moderate parties can collect votes across the political spectrum and help unite a divided nation. Perhaps there are some lessons here for the rest of us.

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