Tag Archives: northern ireland elections 2022

Alliance success: shooting for the stars

Shoot for stars, for if you fail you will land in the clouds, we are told. Well over the last 2 days of watching the count in Northern Ireland I’m not quite sure whether it is Cloud 9 or some new star that the Alliance Party has found themselves on.

Going into this election, our Northern Irish sister party, the Alliance Party were in a familiar position for them the 5th largest party in the Assembly,  although only just behind the Ulster Unionists and SDLP. However, there was ambition, there was vision and there was determination to do better.

Each of the 18 seats in Northern Ireland selects 5 MLAs by STV. In the past Alliance has entered two candidates in each of their target seats as much as a means of vote management rather than, with the exception of East Belfast and the hope in North Down, to return 2 MLAs. As the first preference votes started to come in Friday afternoon, those of us making our own spreadsheets starting to see something, and we kept checking and double checking as the counts progressed that we weren’t just wearing rose tinted glasses.

You see Alliance were running 24 candidates, meaning they were running two candidates in only 6 seats. East Belfast, South Belfast, North Down, Lagan Valley, East Antrim and Strangford. All of these are in the Belfast commuter belt and have returned Alliance MLAs on a consistent basis. However, this time things were looking different and good. In the first three their two candidates combined for the most first preference votes of any party, they were second in Lagan Valley and East Antrim and even Strangford a close third with 23.1%.

In all six as well the vote management, who to vote 1 in which ward, had both candidates placed well to survive long into the transfer process. Indeed, the first declaration of all was in Strangford where Kelly Armstrong was returned on First Preferences and gave Alliance an early lead on the seat counter at the bottom of the screen.

Posted in Op-eds | 33 Comments
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