The first preference
votes cast in the European election in Northern Ireland
on 10 June 1999 (see spreadsheet):
Democratic Unionist Party (Rev Ian Paisley
MP MEP MLA)
Social Democratic and Labour Party (John
Hume MP MEP MLA)
Ulster Unionist Party (Jim Nicholson MEP)
Sinn Féin (Mitchell McLaughlin MLA)
Progressive Unionist Party (David Ervine
United Kingdom Unionist Party (Bob
McCartney MP MLA)
Alliance Party (Sean Neeson MLA)
Natural Law Party (James Anderson)
was 687,573 of the 1,191,307 electorate. 8,764 votes were invalid;
678,809 votes were valid. The quota was 169,703.
previous electoral records
Paisley has been an MEP since 1979. He has
been Westminster MP for North Antrim
since 1970. He was elected to
Stormont in a by-election for
the Bannside constituency in 1970 (having lost in the 1968
and has been elected at all five regional level contests since
1982, 1996, 1998) from the North Antrim constituency. In 1968
he stood as a Protestant Unionist but has been leader of the DUP
it was founded in the latter year.
Hume has been an MEP since 1979. He has been
Westminster MP for Foyle since 1983
(having been unsuccessful
in County Londonderry in October
1974). He was elected to Stormont as an independent in the Foyle
(much smaller than the later Westminster constituency of the
in the 1968 general election, and has been elected at all five
level contests since (1973, 1975, 1982, 1996, 1998), from County
in the first three and then from Foyle. He was a founder of the
1970 and had been the party's leader since 1979.
Nicholson has been an MEP since 1989. He was
Westminster MP for Newry and Armagh
from 1983 to 1986, when
he resigned in protest at the
Anglo-Irish Agreement and lost the subsequent by-election (he
unsuccessful in 1987). He was elected to the 1982-6 Assembly
Armagh. He was a member of Armagh District Council from 1975 to
McLaughlin stood unsuccessfully in Foyle in the 1997 Westminster
election. He was elected from Foyle in the 1996 and 1998
elections. He has been a member of Derry
City Council since 1985.
Ervine stood unsuccessfully in South Belfast
in the 1997 Westminster
election. He was elected as a "top-up" delegate in the 1996
and also from East Belfast in the 1998
election. He was elected
to Belfast City Council in 1997.
McCartney had been MP for North
Down since 1995, after two
precious bids in 1983 and 1987. He was elected from North Down
level elections of 1982, 1996 and 1997. In 1982 and 1983 he was
in 1987 he broke with the party and stood as a Real Unionist; in
founded the UK Unionist Party.
Neeson stood unsuccessfully for Westminster
in East Antrim in 1983,
1986, 1987, 1992 and 1997. He was elected to the 1982 Assembly
Antrim and to the 1996 Forum and 1998 Assembly from East Antrim.
been a member of Carrickfergus District Council since 1973 (with
break in 1988-9). He had been leader of the Alliance Party since
Anderson stood unsuccessfully in the 1994 European election. He
also unsuccessfully contested Westminster elections in
North Down (1995), and South Belfast (1997). He was also a
the 1996 Forum elections (from which he "withdrew" the Natural
a few weeks before polling day) and the 1998 Assembly elections
Belfast). He was an unsucessful candidate in Belfast Laganbank
local elections. He appears to be the closest thing the Natural
in Northern Ireland has to a leader.
is difficult to know what to make of this election result, marking
it did a period of uncertainty in the peace process. Both McLaughlin
McCartney before the election were talking up their chances of
Nicholson; in the event, despite the UUP's historically low vote,
was beaten by Nicholson, McLaughlin and Ervine, and McLaughlin would
needed another 50,000 votes to chalenge Nicholson seriously. Even
in the Alliance vote may not indicate much more than the party's
in persuading even normally loyal supporters to vote for it in a
which Alliance was unlikely to win and where moderates would be very
to strengthen Nicholson, Ervine and Hume against Paisley, McCartney
McLaughlin. The strength of the Nationalist vote compared with other
of the last few years reflects more a differential turnout than a
demographic shift. However the real demographic shift is visible in
difference between this election and 1994.
SDLP and DUP candidates (Hume and Paisley) were both declared
on the first count as their votes exceeded the quota (169,703).
bottom four candidates (Nat Law, Alliance, UKUP and PUP) were
and their votes redistributed to the only two contenders
(UUP) and McLaughlin (SF). Of the 58,166 votes available,
43,120 and McLaughlin 1,709, leaving them with totals of 162,627
respectively after the second count.
was still short of the quota, so Paisley's surplus of 22,969
votes was redistributed between the two remaining candidates. Not
surprisingly Nicholson received the vast majority of these -
McLaughlin still managed to pick up 32 of them. Nicholson was now
ahead of McLaughlin, by 184,739 votes to 119,384, and also clear
quota. He was therefore declared elected, completing the process
surplus of 21,028 votes could not have made a difference to the
at this stage).
people express incredulity that any first preference vote for
could end up with Sinn Féin, as 32 did in 1999 (and 59 in 1994).
Of course because these are fractions the true number may be six
times as many. My attitude has always been that one should not
the intelligence of the voter. Paisley's reputation for
is well known; I don't find it outside the realms of credibility
are a few hundred voters in the Glens who give him a first
his local record rather than his policies, and then transfer to
has already been elected) and SF before considering anyone else.
graph shows the performances of the main parties in the five
elections to the European parliament held so far (NB that the 2004
result in yellow is that of independent candidate John Gilliland,
not the Alliance Party). You can find a summary of the results of
the five most recent
elections elsewhere and on a different
is a summary
of NI election results since 1973; see also the 1994
European election page.