All 108 seats to the Northern Ireland Assembly
55 seats needed for a majority
Seats won by each party per constituency. Voters elect 6 assembly members from the 18 constituencies.
The 2011 election to the Northern Ireland Assembly took place on Thursday, 5 May, following the dissolution of the Northern Ireland Assembly at midnight on 24 March 2011. It was the fourth election to take place since the devolved assembly was established in 1998.
It was held on the same day as elections for Northern Ireland's 26 local councils, the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections, a number of local elections in England and the United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum. As in the past, the 2011 election to the Assembly was conducted using the single transferable vote (STV) system of proportional representation. The 108 seats were contested in 18 constituencies by 218 candidates, including 15 independents and the nominees of 14 separate political parties.
1,210,009 individuals were registered to vote in the 2011 Assembly election (representing an increase of 9.2% compared to the 2007 Assembly election). Turnout in the 2011 Assembly election was 55.7%, a decline of almost seven percentage points from the previous Assembly election and down over 14 percentage points from the first election to the Assembly in 1998.
As in the 2007 election, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin (SF) remained the two largest parties in the Assembly, with the DUP winning 38 and Sinn Féin winning 29 of the Assembly's 108 seats. The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) won 16 seats, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 14 and the Alliance 8, while one seat each was won by the Green Party, Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) and an independent candidate.
Following the results of the election, Peter Robinson of the DUP and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin were nominated and subsequently re-elected as First Minister and deputy First Minister on 12 May 2011. The sole change to the Northern Ireland Executive was that the UUP lost a ministerial post to the Alliance.
The election was the first since the devolution of policing and justice powers to the assembly. In contrast to previous elections, it was relatively uncontroversial. The turnout was one of the lowest ever in a Northern Ireland election. Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party both continued to make gains, although the DUP vote share was slightly down. The election was a disaster for the Ulster Unionist Party, which came behind the Social Democratic and Labour Party in terms of first preference vote, although the UUP won more seats. The Ulster Unionist vote collapsed in Belfast, where it was eclipsed by the Alliance Party's, and in a number of other constituencies considered safe such as North Down. The election was also poor for the SDLP, which lost two seats.
The Alliance Party performed well, gaining a second seat in East Belfast (which a former Progressive Unionist Party member lost and the PUP failed to regain), while increasing the Alliance vote share significantly. Traditional Unionist Voice secured a single seat in North Antrim; its vote share was down from the May 2010 elections to the UK Parliament. Despite their first preference vote halving, the Green Party held their sole seat in North Down while the People before Profit Alliance narrowly failed to take the final seat in the Foyle constituency. The only member elected as an independent in 2007 (in West Tyrone) retired, leaving a single independent in the new Assembly (after three independents first elected on other tickets had retired or lost re-election), compared to five at the end of the previous one.
As in the previous Assembly, the DUP's voting strength was reduced by one with the re-election on 12 May of Willie Hay (DUP, Foyle) to the non-partisan office of Speaker.
Ten seats on the Northern Ireland Executive were filled by the new Assembly on 16 May according to party strength under the d'Hondt method of proportional representation.
In addition, in separate votes on 12 and 16 May, the Assembly as a whole re-elected party leaders David Ford (Alliance), Peter Robinson (DUP) and Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) to their seats on the Executive as, respectively, Minister of Justice and First Minister and deputy First Minister. Thus the Executive's total membership, as in the past, is 13.
The parties' share of first-preference votes cast on the same day (5 May 2011) for Northern Ireland's 26 local councils is given for comparison. Numbers as reported by Wednesday, 11 May 2011.
|DUP||Peter Robinson||44||38 (37)||+2||198,436||29.99%||–0.1%||27.2%||4 (5)||—|
|Sinn Féin||Gerry Adams||40||29||+1||178,222||26.93%||+0.7%||24.8%||3 (4)||—|
|SDLP||Margaret Ritchie||28||14||–2||94,286||14.25%||–1.0%||15.0%||1 (1)||—|
|UUP||Tom Elliott||29||16||–2||87,531||13.23%||–1.7%||15.2%||1 (1)||–1|
|Alliance||David Ford||22||8||+1||50,875||7.69%||+2.5%||7.4%||1 (2)||+1|
|Green (NI)||Steven Agnew||6||1||—||6,031||0.91%||–0.8%||1.0%||-||—|
|People Before Profit||N/A||4||-||5,438||0.82%||+0.7%||0.3%|
|Workers' Party||Mick Finnegan||4||-||1,155||0.17%||+0.1%||0.1%|
Party affiliation of the six Assembly members returned by each constituency. The first column indicates the party of the Member of the House of Commons (MP) returned by the corresponding parliamentary constituency in the general election of 6 May 2010 (under the "first past the post" method).
(The constituencies are arranged here in rough geographical order around Lough Neagh from Antrim to Londonderry. To see them in alphabetical order, click the small square icon after "Constituency"; to restore this geographical order, click the icon after "No." at the left.)
|Newry and Armagh||11||6||-||3||1||-||1||1||-||-||-||-|
|Fermanagh & South Tyrone||11||6||-||3||-||-||1||2||-||-||SF||SDLP|
|Change since dissolution||-||-||-||+2||–2||+1||-||+2||+1||–4|
|Assembly at dissolution||-||108||1||27||16||7||16||36||-||5||-|
|Change during Assembly term||-||-||-||–1||-||-||–2||-||-||+4||–1 Prog. U.|
|Elected on 7 March 2007||256||108||1||28||16||7||18||36||-||1||1 Prog. U.|
|Elected on 23 November 2003||108||-||24||18||6||27||30||-||1||1 Prog. U.||1 UKUP|
|Elected on 25 June 1998||108||-||18||24||6||28||20||-||4||2 Prog. U.||5 UKUP, 2 NIWC|
Percentage of each constituency's first-preference votes. Four highest percentages in each constituency shaded; absolute majorities underlined. The constituencies are arranged in the geographic order described for the table above; click the icon next to "Constituency" to see them in alphabetical order.
|13||SF||42.0%||Newry & Armagh||40.8||23.5||1.6||18.7||13.1||1.8||0.2||0.2||46,514||77,544||61.3%|
|14||SF||45.5%||Fermanagh & S. Tyrone||40.3||9.6||1.8||19.3||24.4||2.6||2.1||47,999||70,985||69.0%|
|Change since 2007||–0.8||+0.8||–1.0||+2.5||–1.7||–0.1||+2.5||–1.6||–0.5||–28,577||+102,105||–7.2%|
|Election of March 2007||1.7||26.2||15.2||5.2||14.9||30.1||—||3.8||2.8||690,313||1,107,904||62.9%|
|Election of Nov. 2003||0.4||23.5||17.0||3.7||22.7||25.7||—||5.6||2.8||692,026||1,097,526||63.1%|
|Election of June 1998||0.1||17.6||22.0||6.5||21.3||18.1||—||10.9||3.5||823,565||1,178,556||69.9%|
Out of the 22 candidates from the seven parties which won no seats in 2011, the four candidates who won more than 1,000 first-preference votes (and more than 4% of the total first preferences) in their respective constituencies were:
Three-fifths, or 8,606 (60%), of the 14,338 first preferences cast for the seven minor parties went to these four candidates.
Of the 15 independent candidates, running in 9 separate constituencies, the 8 who won more than 1,000 first-preference votes (and over 2.5% of the first-preference total) were:
A majority (8,395 or 54%) of the 15,535 first-preference votes cast for independents went to the first four of these candidates, three of whom had been elected by other parties in 2007. David McClarty was the only successful independent candidate.
Thirty-one members of the previous Assembly during all of part of its term (2007-2011) did not offer themselves for re-election in May 2011. Another eight who did seek re-election were unsuccessful.
Several of the 14 members who retired early from the Northern Ireland Assembly did so either after being elected or re-elected to the British House of Commons on 6 May 2010 (as MPs), or else in anticipation of being elected to the Dáil Éireann (lower house of the Irish parliament) on 25 February 2011 (as a TD). [Three retired or retiring members are Privy Counsellors of the United Kingdom (PC).]
|George Dawson||[deceased]||DUP||East Antrim||7 May 2007||Alastair Ian Ross||yes|
|David Burnside||UUP||South Antrim||1 June 2009||Danny Kinahan||yes|
|Francie Brolly||Sinn Féin||East Londonderry||11 December 2009||Billy Leonard||did not run (SF hold)|
|Iris Robinson||DUP||Strangford||12 January 2010||Jonathan Bell||yes|
|Carmel Hanna||SDLP||Belfast South||15 January 2010||Conall McDevitt||yes|
|Jeffrey Donaldson||MP, PC||DUP||Lagan Valley||10 June 2010||Paul Givan||yes|
|Ian Paisley (junior)||MP||DUP||North Antrim||21 June 2010||Paul Frew||yes|
|David Simpson||MP||DUP||Upper Bann||1 July 2010||Sidney Anderson||yes|
|William McCrea||MP||DUP||South Antrim||1 July 2010||Paul Girvan||yes|
|Naomi Long||MP||Alliance||Belfast East||5 July 2010||Chris Lyttle||yes|
|Jim Shannon||MP||DUP||Strangford||1 August 2010||Simpson Gibson||did not run (UUP gain)|
|Nigel Dodds||MP, PC||DUP||Belfast North||10 September 2010||William Humphrey||yes|
|Mark Durkan||MP||SDLP||Foyle||9 November 2010||Pól Callaghan||not elected (SDLP hold)|
|Gerry Adams||TD||Sinn Féin||Belfast West||7 December 2010||Pat Sheehan||yes|
These are the 25 changes in membership that occurred between the third Assembly's dissolution in March 2011 and the fourth Assembly's election in May. Seventeen sitting members did not present themselves for re-election and another eight were defeated at the polls. One re-elected member had been elected with a different affiliation in 2007.
The numbers indicate the percentage of votes each member received in the first round of counting under the Single Transferable Vote in the 2011 election, and the round which decided his or her election or defeat.
In some constituencies (Foyle, West Tyrone and Fermanagh & South Tyrone), it is not possible to couple a single outgoing member by party with a single successor. The pairs of outgoing and incoming members in those seats are presented in arbitrary order.
Most of these changes occurred due to a member's retirement, although one defeated member of the SDLP, in Foyle, was succeeded by another member of the SDLP.
|Billy Armstrong (retiring)||Ulster Unionist||—||—||Mid Ulster||Sandra Overend||UUP||10.3%||6|
|P. J. Bradley (retiring)||SDLP||—||—||South Down||Karen McKevitt||SDLP||9.0%||9|
[replaced Mark Durkan, MP]
Mary Bradley (retiring)
|Foyle||Mark H. Durkan
|Wallace Browne (retiring)
Baron Browne of Belmont
|Democratic Unionist||—||—||Belfast East||Sammy Douglas||DUP||8.3%||11|
|Robert Coulter (retiring)||Ulster Unionist||—||—||North Antrim||Robin Swann||UUP||6.2%||9|
|Reg Empey (retiring)
|Ulster Unionist||—||—||Belfast East||Michael Copeland||UUP||6.8%||11|
|Billy Leonard (retiring)
[replaced Francie Brolly]
|Sinn Féin (suspended)||—||—||East Londonderry||Cathal Ó hOisín||Sinn Féin||13.5%||6|
|Claire McGill (retiring)||Sinn Féin||—||—||West Tyrone||Michaela Boyle||Sinn Féin||12.9%||4|
|Seán Neeson (retiring)||Alliance||—||—||East Antrim||Stewart Dickson||Alliance||10.0%||9|
|Ian Paisley, PC (retiring)
|Democratic Unionist||—||—||North Antrim||David McIlveen||DUP||8.1%||8|
|George Savage (retiring)||Ulster Unionist||—||—||Upper Bann||Jo-Anne Dobson||UUP||7.9%||7|
|Brian Wilson (retiring)||Green Party in Northern Ireland||—||—||North Down||Steven Agnew||Green||7.9%||11|
Note that the party changes in Lagan Valley, Strangford and East Antrim cancelled each other out.
Kieran Deeny (retiring)
|West Tyrone||Ross Hussey
|Thomas Burns||SDLP||10.6%||0||South Antrim||Pam Lewis||DUP||8.9%||4|
|Fred Cobain||Ulster Unionist||8.2%||7||Belfast North||Paula Bradley||DUP||10.4%||6|
Gerry McHugh (retiring)
Ind. (elected as SF)
|David McClarty||Ind. (elected as UUP)||8.6%||7||East Londonderry||David McClarty||Independent||8.6%||7|
|Alan McFarland||Ind. (elected as UUP)||6.7%||9||North Down||Gordon Dunne||DUP||13.3%||2|
|Declan O'Loan||SDLP||9.1%||9||North Antrim||Jim Allister||Trad. U. Voice||10.1%||9|
|Dawn Purvis||Ind. (elected as Prog. U.)||5.3%||11||Belfast East||Judith Cochrane||Alliance||13.4%||7|
|Paul Butler (retiring)||Sinn Féin||—||—||Lagan Valley||Brenda Hale||DUP||8.2%||7|
|Simpson Gibson (retiring)
[replaced Jim Shannon]
|Democratic Unionist||—||—||Strangford||Mike Nesbitt||UUP||11.0%||6|
|Ken Robinson (retiring)||Ulster Unionist||—||—||East Antrim||Oliver McMullan||Sinn Féin||8.2%||10|
David McClarty, originally elected from East Londonderry as an Ulster Unionist, although not re-nominated by the UUP in 2011, stood successfully for re-election as an independent. This reduced the UUP's strength from 2007, while keeping independent strength in the Assembly at one (as Kieran Deeny, the retiring independent member, was not succeeded in West Tyrone by another independent). McClarty decided not to re-join the UUP after his re-election.
The presiding officer of the Northern Ireland's Assembly (like those for Scotland and Wales, but unlike those for the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland) does not remain impartial during the election period. The sitting Speaker, in this instance William Hay (DUP, Foyle), must revert to his or her party colours and campaign for a seat on its manifesto. Once re-elected as an MLA (as Hay was), he or she becomes eligible for re-election as Speaker to resume unbiased authority over the Assembly. The regional media reported that Sinn Féin's Francie Molloy, an outgoing Deputy Speaker, had hoped to win election as Speaker when the 2011 Assembly first met; in the event, following inter-party negotiations, Hay was re-elected and Molloy was nominated by his party for, and elected to, a newly created position of Principal Deputy Speaker with a presumed right of succession.
European Union (EU) and Commonwealth citizens aged 18 or over on election day were entitled to vote. The deadline for voters to register to vote in 5 May elections was midnight on 14 April 2011. All voters had to present one piece of photographic identification in order to cast a vote at the polling station: accepted forms of ID were an Electoral Identity Card, a photographic Northern Ireland or Great Britain driving licence, a European Union member state passport, a Translink 60+ SmartPass, a Translink Senior SmartPass, a Translink Blind Person's SmartPass or a Translink War Disabled SmartPass. Voters who didn't have an accepted type of photographic ID had until 22 April 2011 to apply for an Electoral Identity Card from the Electoral Office. A judicial review brought by candidates in the simultaneous local government elections, challenging the non-acceptance of EU national identity cards as a proof of identity, failed on 4 May 2011.
In the days following the 2011 Assembly election concerns were raised by politicians and others about the time it took for ballots to be verified and counted. The first result came in at 7:00 p.m. on Friday 6 May, nine hours after counting began and 21 hours after polls closed. The announcement of the final results for some constituencies came two days after the polls closed. In contrast, the first result for elections held in Scotland on the same day as the Assembly election came in at 12:54 a.m., just under three hours after counting began, and the final result came in at 5:21 p.m. on the same day (Friday 6 May). In response to the criticisms about the speed of counting, Northern Ireland's Chief Electoral Officer, Graham Shields, defended the process, saying that it was "about accuracy, not about speed", adding that "This is a complicated process and people have to accept that. We will take as long as it takes to get it right."