The first preference
votes cast in the European election in Northern Ireland
on 10 June 1999:
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 general
and has been elected at all five regional level contests since (1973,
1982, 1996, 1998) from the North Antrim constituency. In 1968 and 1970
he stood as a Protestant Unionist but has been leader of the DUP since
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 same name)
in the 1968 general election, and has been elected at all five regional
level contests since (1973, 1975, 1982, 1996, 1998), from County
in the first three and then from Foyle. He was a founder of the SDLP in
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 was again
unsuccessful in 1987). He was elected to the 1982-6 Assembly from
Armagh. He was a member of Armagh District Council from 1975 to 1997.
McLaughlin stood unsuccessfully in Foyle in the 1997 Westminster
election. He was elected from Foyle in the 1996 and 1998 regional-level
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 Forum
and also from East Belfast in the 1998 Assembly
election. He was elected
to Belfast City Council in 1997.
McCartney had been MP for North
Down since 1995, after two unsuccessful
precious bids in 1983 and 1987. He was elected from North Down in the
level elections of 1982, 1996 and 1997. In 1982 and 1983 he was a UUP
in 1987 he broke with the party and stood as a Real Unionist; in 1995
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 from
Antrim and to the 1996 Forum and 1998 Assembly from East Antrim. He has
been a member of Carrickfergus District Council since 1973 (with a
break in 1988-9). He had been leader of the Alliance Party since 1998.
Anderson stood unsuccessfully in the 1994 European election. He
also unsuccessfully contested Westminster elections in Mid-Ulster
North Down (1995), and South Belfast (1997). He was also a candidate in
the 1996 Forum elections (from which he "withdrew" the Natural Law
a few weeks before polling day) and the 1998 Assembly elections (in
Belfast). He was an unsucessful candidate in Belfast Laganbank in the
local elections. He appears to be the closest thing the Natural Law
in Northern Ireland has to a leader.
is difficult to know what to make of this election result, marking as
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 the
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 and
McLaughlin. The strength of the Nationalist vote compared with other
of the last few years reflects more a differential turnout than a real
demographic shift. However the real demographic shift is visible in the
difference between this election and 1994.
SDLP and DUP candidates (Hume and Paisley) were both declared elected
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 remaining,
(UUP) and McLaughlin (SF). Of the 58,166 votes available, Nicholson
43,120 and McLaughlin 1,709, leaving them with totals of 162,627 and
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 very
surprisingly Nicholson received the vast majority of these - 22,162 -
McLaughlin still managed to pick up 32 of them. Nicholson was now well
ahead of McLaughlin, by 184,739 votes to 119,384, and also clear of the
quota. He was therefore declared elected, completing the process
surplus of 21,028 votes could not have made a difference to the outcome
at this stage).
people express incredulity that any first preference vote for Paisley
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 or
times as many. My attitude has always been that one should not
the intelligence of the voter. Paisley's reputation for constituency
is well known; I don't find it outside the realms of credibility that
are a few hundred voters in the Glens who give him a first preference
his local record rather than his policies, and then transfer to Hume
has already been elected) and SF before considering anyone else.
graph shows the performances of the main parties in the five direct
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 page
is a summary
of NI election results since 1973; see also the 1994
European election page.