2022 Northern Ireland Assembly election
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All 90 seats to the Northern Ireland Assembly
Turnout63.61% (Decrease1.2%)
  First party Second party Third party
 
Michelle O
Official portrait of Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson crop 2.jpg
Naomi Long MLA.jpg
Leader Michelle O'Neill[n 1] Jeffrey Donaldson Naomi Long
Party Sinn Féin DUP Alliance
Leader since 23 January 2017 30 June 2021 26 October 2016
Leader's seat Mid Ulster Lagan Valley (Renounced) Belfast East
Last election 27 seats, 27.9% 28 seats, 28.1% 8 seats, 9.1%
Seats won 27 25 17
Seat change Steady Decrease3 Increase9
Popular vote 250,388 184,002 116,681
Percentage 29.0% 21.3% 13.5%
Swing Increase1.1% Decrease6.7% Increase4.5%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
 
Doug Beattie.png
Colum Eastwood MLA.JPG
JimAllister (cropped).jpg
Leader Doug Beattie Colum Eastwood Jim Allister
Party UUP SDLP TUV
Leader since 17 May 2021 14 November 2015 7 December 2007
Leader's seat Upper Bann Not standing[a] North Antrim
Last election 10 seats, 12.9% 12 seats, 11.9% 1 seat, 2.6%
Seats won 9 8 1
Seat change Decrease1 Decrease4 Steady
Popular vote 96,390 78,237 65,788
Percentage 11.2% 9.1% 7.6%
Swing Decrease1.7% Decrease2.9% Increase5.1%

  Seventh party
 
Eamonn McCann (cropped).jpg
Leader Eamonn McCann[n 2]
Party People Before Profit
Leader since N/A
Leader's seat Not standing
Last election 1 seat, 1.8%
Seats won 1
Seat change Steady
Popular vote 9,798
Percentage 1.1%
Swing Decrease0.6%

2022 Northern Ireland Election Map.svg
Seats won by each party per constituency. Voters elect 5 assembly members from the 18 constituencies. The shading indicates the combined first preference vote share of the largest party in each constituency.

2022 Northern Ireland Assembly election, Seats per Constituencies.svg

First Minister and
deputy First Minister
before election

vacant positions

First Minister and
deputy First Minister

TBD

The 2022 Northern Ireland Assembly election was held on 5 May 2022. It elected 90 members to the Northern Ireland Assembly. It was the seventh assembly election since the establishment of the assembly in 1998. The election was held three months after the Northern Ireland Executive collapsed due to the resignation of the First Minister, Paul Givan (DUP), in protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol.[2]

In the sixth assembly, elected in 2017, eight parties had Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs): the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), latterly led by Jeffrey Donaldson; Sinn Féin, led by Michelle O'Neill; the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), latterly led by Doug Beattie; the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), led by Colum Eastwood; Alliance, led by Naomi Long; the Greens, led by Clare Bailey; People Before Profit (PBP), who have a collective leadership; and the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV), led by Jim Allister.

Sinn Féin became the largest party, marking the first time an Irish nationalist/republican party won the most seats in an election in Northern Ireland, and has the right to nominate Northern Ireland's first nationalist First Minister. The DUP's vote share dropped almost 7% and it lost three seats; despite this, unionists won two more seats than nationalists—37 seats to 35—and a marginally higher share of the vote.[3] Alliance also made large gains, overtaking the UUP and the SDLP to become the third-largest party in the Assembly. The Greens lost both seats they held before the election and were shut out of the Assembly for the first time since 2003.[4][5]

As Northern Ireland's government is based on power-sharing, the DUP (as the largest unionist party) must nominate a deputy First Minister for the Executive to be formed; however, they said they will not do so until their issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol are dealt with.[6]

Background

Electoral events

In May 2013, Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, announced that the next Assembly election would be postponed to May 2016, and would be held at fixed intervals of five years thereafter.[7] Section 7 of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014 specifies that elections will be held on the first Thursday in May on the fifth calendar year following that in which its predecessor was elected,[8] which would be 5 May 2022; however, there are several circumstances in which the Assembly can be dissolved before the date scheduled by virtue of section 31(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

In June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union, although Northern Ireland voted to remain.[9] The process of withdrawal held particular uncertainty for Northern Ireland due to the potential for customs on the UK–Ireland border.[10] Meanwhile, an early election was held to the Northern Ireland Assembly in March 2017. After the election, Sinn Féin stated that it would not return to a power-sharing arrangement with the Democratic Unionist Party without significant changes in the party's approach, including Arlene Foster not becoming First Minister until an investigation into the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal was complete.[11] Over the next few years,[12][13] the deadline to form an executive was repeatedly extended as negotiations continued with no success.[14][15][16]

On 18 April 2017, Theresa May, Prime Minister of the UK, called for a general election to be held on 8 June 2017.[17] The Conservative Party lost its parliamentary majority and sought a confidence and supply agreement with the DUP to remain in government. The DUP and the Conservatives reached an agreement on 26 June.[18]

In 2019, the UK experienced significant political turbulence over the question of how to proceed with Brexit. The European Parliament election in May 2019 saw the Alliance Party take the third MEP place from the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). DUP support for the Conservative government broke down with disagreements over the government's Brexit plans. The Conservative government sought a new election, held in December 2019, which they won with a large majority. In Northern Ireland, for the first time, traditional Irish nationalist parties won more seats than traditional unionist parties. The SDLP and Alliance returned to the House of Commons, while the DUP and Sinn Féin saw vote share declines of more than 5%.[19]

A DUP/Sinn Féin executive was re-established on 10 January 2020 with the New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) agreement, forestalling an immediate new election.[20] By the end of February 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have spread to Northern Ireland.[21]

On 15 January 2022, the UK government was accused of interfering in the election by reintroducing dual mandates, which had been abolished in 2016. This would enable MPs like Donaldson to have seats in Stormont as well as Westminster,[22] but plans were withdrawn four days later.[23]

Leadership changes

On 28 April 2021, Arlene Foster announced that she would be resigning as DUP leader on 28 May and First Minister in June 2021 after more than 20 DUP MLAs and four DUP MPs signed a letter "...voicing no confidence in her leadership".[24] Edwin Poots narrowly won the subsequent May 2021 DUP leadership election, but announced his resignation 21 days later.[25] The runner-up in the election, Jeffrey Donaldson, stood unopposed in the June 2021 DUP leadership election and with no other candidates the party chose not to hold a ballot (some parties still do a leadership vote or ballot with one candidate with the other option to re-open nominations). Donaldson was ratified as the party's leader on 30 June 2021.[26] Meanwhile, after Poots elected not to replace Foster as First Minister,[27] Paul Givan took up the position on 17 June 2021.[28]

Steve Aiken announced his resignation as leader of the UUP on 8 May 2021,[29] with Doug Beattie taking up the post nine days later after standing unopposed.[30]

Northern Ireland Protocol

The Northern Ireland Protocol is a protocol to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement that governs the unique customs and immigration issues at the border in the island of Ireland between the United Kingdom and the European Union, and on some aspects of trade in goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.[31] Its terms were negotiated in 2019 and agreed and concluded in December 2020. Due to a thirty-year internecine conflict in Northern Ireland known as The Troubles, the UK–Ireland border has had a special status since that conflict was ended by the Belfast Agreement/Good Friday Agreement of 1998. As part of the Northern Ireland Peace Process, the border has been largely invisible, without any physical barrier or customs checks on its many crossing points; this arrangement was made possible by both countries' common membership of both the European Single Market and EU Customs Union, and of their Common Travel Area.

The DUP threatened to pull out of Stormont's power-sharing government on 9 September 2021, triggering a snap election "within weeks" unless the protocol was scrapped. Donaldson warned: "I say not as a threat but as a matter of political reality that our political institutions will not survive a failure to resolve the problems the Protocol has created."[32] The following week, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood accused the DUP of having a "petulant strop" and called for a new law to stop an early election. He told peers that the "delicate constitutional balance" in Northern Ireland was "too fragile for people to play games with".[33]

On 3 February 2022, Givan resigned as First Minister in protest over the protocol, which automatically resulted in the Deputy First Minister losing her role and the Northern Ireland Executive collapsing.[34][35] Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said that the UK government would "reform" the protocol if the EU did not,[36] whilst it was also reported that Westminster was planning legislation that would give ministers powers to abolish the protocol altogether.[37] During a rally in Ballymena on 30 April, TUV leader Jim Allister said that the Executive would not be returning unless the protocol was removed.[38]

Calls for early election

Following the collapse of the Assembly, Sinn Féin and the DUP both called for the election to be brought forward, but the UUP, SDLP and Alliance Party opposed the idea.[39][40] Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis ruled out an early election,[41] saying that the priority was to get the Assembly up and running again.[42] Two weeks later, however, Lewis claimed there was "a real risk" that the Executive would not return after the election.[43]

Possible results

Prior to the election, parties, commentators and the media had noted the possibility of a nationalist party, Sinn Féin, topping the poll for the first time.[44][45] In such a case, under the St Andrews Agreement of 2006, Sinn Féin would have the right to nominate the First Minister regardless of whether the Unionist bloc was larger or not.[46] The high polling of the non-sectarian Alliance Party also presented a challenge to the consociational nature of the Assembly; were they to become the second largest party in the Assembly, it would be unlikely that they would have the right to nominate a deputy First Minister,[46] as the right of nomination is reserved to the largest party of the largest designation which did not nominate the First Minister.[47]

Candidates

Nominations opened on 29 March 2022 for the assembly election and closed on 8 April 2022.[48]

A total of 239 candidates contested the 90 available seats in the Assembly, an increase from 228 in 2016.[48] Eighty-seven women ran as candidates in the election, which is the highest number in history.[49] The seats were spread over 18 constituencies, with each constituency having five seats. The election was conducted using the single transferable vote system.

The table below lists all of the nominated candidates.[50][51]

Constituency DUP SF SDLP UUP Alliance TUV Green PBP Aontú Others
Belfast East David Brooks (E)
Joanne Bunting* (E)
Mairéad O'Donnell Charlotte Carson Andy Allen* (E)
Lauren Kerr
Naomi Long* (E)
Peter McReynolds (E)
John Ross Brian Smyth Hannah Kenny Karl Bennett (PUP)
Eoin MacNeill (WP)
Belfast North Phillip Brett (E)
Brian Kingston (E)
Gerry Kelly* (E)
Carál Ní Chuilín* (E)
Nichola Mallon* Julie-Anne Corr-Johnston Nuala McAllister (E) Ron McDowell Mal O'Hara Fiona Ferguson Seán Mac Niocaill Billy Hutchinson^ (PUP)
Lily Kerr (WP)
Stafford Ward (Ind)
Belfast South Edwin Poots* (E) Deirdre Hargey* (E) Matthew O'Toole* (E)
Elsie Trainor
Stephen McCarthy Paula Bradshaw* (E)
Kate Nicholl (E)
Andrew Girvin Clare Bailey* Sipho Sibanda Luke McCann Paddy Lynn (WP)
Neil Moore (SP)
Elly Odhiambo (Ind)
Belfast West Frank McCoubrey Danny Baker (E)
Órlaithí Flynn* (E)
Aisling Reilly* (E)
Pat Sheehan* (E)
Paul Doherty Linsey Gibson Donnamarie Higgins Jordan Doran Stevie Maginn Gerry Carroll* (E) Gerard Herdman Gerard Burns (Ind)
Patrick Crossan (WP)
Declan Hill (Ind)
Tony Mallon (Ind)
Dan Murphy (IRSP)
East Antrim David Hilditch* (E)
Gordon Lyons* (E)
Oliver McMullan^ Siobhán McAlister John Stewart* (E)
Roy Beggs Jr*
Stewart Dickson* (E)
Danny Donnelly (E)
Norman Boyd^ Mark Bailey
East Londonderry Maurice Bradley* (E)
Alan Robinson (E)
Caoimhe Archibald* (E)
Kathleen McGurk
Cara Hunter* (E) Darryl Wilson Chris McCaw Jordan Armstrong Mark Coulson Amy Merron Gemma Brolly Claire Sugden* (Ind U) (E)
Niall Murphy (Ind)
Stephanie Quigley (Ind)
Billy Stewart (Ind)
Russell Watton (PUP)
Fermanagh and
South Tyrone
Deborah Erskine* (E)
Paul Bell
Jemma Dolan* (E)
Colm Gildernew* (E)
Áine Murphy* (E)
Adam Gannon Tom Elliott^ (E)
Rosemary Barton*
Matthew Beaumont Alex Elliott Kellie Turtle Emmett Kilpatrick Denise Mullen Derek Backhouse (Ind)
Emma DeSouza (Ind)
Donal O'Cofaigh (CCLA)
Foyle Gary Middleton* (E) Pádraig Delargy* (E)
Ciara Ferguson* (E)
Mark H. Durkan* (E)
Sinead McLaughlin* (E)
Brian Tierney
Ryan McCready Rachael Ferguson Elizabeth Neely Gillian Hamilton Shaun Harkin Emmet Doyle Anne McCloskey (Ind)
Colly McLaughlin (IRSP)
Lagan Valley Jeffrey Donaldson^ (E)
Paul Givan* (E)
Gary McCleave Pat Catney* Robbie Butler* (E)
Laura Turner
Sorcha Eastwood (E)
David Honeyford (E)
Lorna Smyth Simon Lee Amanda Doherty Gary Hynds (Ind)
Mid Ulster Keith Buchanan* (E) Linda Dillon* (E)
Michelle O'Neill* (E)
Emma Sheerin* (E)
Patsy McGlone* (E) Meta Graham Claire Hackett Glenn Moore Stefan Taylor[n 3] Sophia McFeely Alixandra Halliday Patrick Haughey (Ind)
Conor Rafferty (Resume NI)
Hugh Scullion (WP)
Newry and Armagh William Irwin* (E) Cathal Boylan* (E)
Liz Kimmins* (E)
Conor Murphy* (E)
Justin McNulty* (E) David Taylor Jackie Coade Keith Ratcliffe Ciara Henry Daniel Connolly Nicola Grant (WP)
Gavin Malone (Ind)
North Antrim Paul Frew* (E)
Mervyn Storey*
Philip McGuigan* (E) Eugene Reid Robin Swann* (E)
Bethany Ferris
Patricia O'Lynn (E) Jim Allister* (E)
Matthew Armstrong
Paul Veronica Laird Shingleton (Ind)
North Down Stephen Dunne* (E)
Jennifer Gilmour
Thérèse McCartney Déirdre Vaughan Alan Chambers* (E)
Naomi McBurney
Connie Egan (E)
Andrew Muir* (E)
John Gordon Rachel Woods* Alex Easton* (Ind U) (E)
Chris Carter (Ind)
Ray McKimm (Ind)
Matthew Robinson (Con)
South Antrim Pam Cameron* (E)
Trevor Clarke* (E)
Declan Kearney* (E) Roisin Lynch Steve Aiken* (E)
Paul Michael
John Blair* (E) Mel Lucas Lesley Veronica Jerry Maguire Róisín Bennett Andrew Moran (Ind)
South Down Diane Forsythe (E) Sinéad Ennis* (E)
Cathy Mason (E)
Colin McGrath* (E)
Karen McKevitt^
Jill Macauley Patrick Brown (E) Harold McKee^ Noeleen Lynch Paul McCrory Rosemary McGlone Patrick Clarke (Ind)
Strangford Harry Harvey* (E)
Michelle McIlveen* (E)
Peter Weir*
Róisé McGivern Conor Houston Mike Nesbitt* (E)
Philip Smith^
Kellie Armstrong* (E)
Nick Mathison (E)
Stephen Cooper Maurice Macartney Ben King (Ind)
Upper Bann Jonathan Buckley* (E)
Diane Dodds* (E)
John O'Dowd* (E)
Liam Mackle
Dolores Kelly* Doug Beattie* (E)
Glenn Barr
Eóin Tennyson (E) Darrin Foster Lauren Kendall Aidan Gribbin Glenn Beattie (Heritage)
West Tyrone Tom Buchanan* (E) Nicola Brogan* (E)
Declan McAleer* (E)
Maolíosa McHugh* (E)
Daniel McCrossan* (E) Ian Marshall Stephen Donnelly Trevor Clarke Susan Glass Carol Gallagher James Hope Barry Brown (Ind)
Amy Ferguson (SP)
Paul Gallagher (Ind)

Members not seeking re-election

The following MLAs announced that they would not stand for re-election.[53]

MLA Constituency
/region
First elected
or co-opted
Party Date announced
Trevor Lunn Lagan Valley 2007 Independent[n 4] 22 February 2021[54]
Emma Rogan South Down 2017 Sinn Féin 19 May 2021[55]
Sinéad Bradley South Down 2016 SDLP 24 May 2021[56]
Alex Maskey Belfast West 1998 Sinn Féin 5 August 2021[57]
Chris Lyttle Belfast East 2010 Alliance 29 October 2021[58]
Robin Newton Belfast East 2003 DUP 2 February 2022[59]
George Robinson East Londonderry 2003 DUP 17 March 2022[60]
William Humphrey Belfast North 2010 DUP 17 March 2022[61]
Paula Bradley Belfast North 2011 DUP 17 March 2022[62]
Paul Rankin Lagan Valley 2022 DUP 17 March 2022[63]
Jim Wells South Down 1998 Ind U[n 5] 23 March 2022[64]

Campaign

The Sinn Féin campaign avoided talk of a united Ireland,[65] instead focusing on "bread and butter" issues.[66] Sinn Féin called for a £230 payment to help people with the cost of living.[67] A threat to destroy a Sinn Féin billboard was reported to the police.[68] The Social Democratic and Labour Party's campaign had reportedly been difficult.[69] Candidate Elsie Trainor was attacked by youths in Belfast who also hurled sectarian abuse.[70] Leader Colum Eastwood urged tactical voting.[71] Aontú was the only Irish nationalist party to campaign on an anti-abortion platform.[72]

The Democratic Unionist Party campaign focused on their opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol, Sinn Féin and the prospect of a referendum on Irish unity.[73] The Traditional Unionist Voice said that opposing the Northern Ireland Protocol is "top priority".[74] They received a number of defections from the DUP.[75] In contrast to the DUP, the Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie said a united Ireland would not happen in his or his children's lifetime, thus "we can set it aside in order to concentrate on the issues affecting the daily lives of our people who live here".[76] All three unionist leaders attended a series of rallies against the Protocol. In March, Beattie announced he would continue to oppose the Protocol but would no longer take part in the rallies. Beattie said they had been hijacked by loyalists to raise tensions "that now see a resurgence in UVF activity". Following this, his constituency office in Portadown was attacked,[77] and an election poster with a noose around his neck appeared at a loyalist rally in Lurgan.[78]

The Alliance Party promised to build Casement Park,[79] positioned itself as the "centre ground" and campaigned in constituencies west of the River Bann, where they have never won any seats.[80]

The Green Party pledged the establishment of a bill of rights, an independent Environmental Protection Agency, and rent controls.[81] The People Before Profit manifesto was launched on 22 April. In it, they promised a £1,000 to help with cost of living.[82] On 30 April, PBP candidate Hannah Kenny was attacked by three men in East Belfast, who also subjected her to "sectarian and misogynistic" abuse.[83]

On 13 April, it was reported that the Police Service of Northern Ireland had been notified of 41 political poster incidents.[84]

Televised debates between the party leaders were held on 1 May and 3 May.[85][86]

2022 Northern Ireland Assembly debates
Date
scheduled
Organisers Moderator(s)  P  Present[b]   Audience Ref.
DUP SF SDLP UUP Alliance
1 May UTV Marc Mallett P
Donaldson
P
O'Neill
P
Eastwood
P
Beattie
P
Long
Yes [87]
3 May BBC One Northern Ireland Jim Fitzpatrick P
Donaldson
P
O'Neill
P
Eastwood
P
Beattie
P
Long
Yes [88]
  1. ^ Eastwood sits in the House of Commons as the MP for Foyle
  2. ^ Denotes a main invitee attending the event.

Opinion polls

Local regression of polls conducted
Date(s)
conducted
Pollster Client Sample
size
DUP U SF N UUP U SDLP N APNI O TUV U Green O PBP O Aontú N Other Lead
5 May 2022 2022 Assembly election 21.3% 29.0% 11.2% 9.1% 13.5% 7.9% 1.9% 1.1% 1.5% 3.5% 7.7%
16–26 Apr 2022 Social Market Research University of Liverpool/Irish News 1,270 18.2% 26.6% 12.1% 10.5% 18.2% 5.7% 2.9% 2.1% TBD 8.4%
22–24 Apr 2022 LucidTalk Belfast Telegraph 1,708 20% 26% 14% 10% 14% 9% 3% 2% TBD 2% 6%
11–26 Mar 2022 Social Market Research University of Liverpool/Irish News 1,000 20.2% 27.0% 13.6% 10.2% 14.7% 5.4% 4.3% 2.1% 0.3% 2.2% 6.8%
18–21 Mar 2022 LucidTalk Belfast Telegraph 3,281 19% 26% 13% 11% 16% 9% 2% 2% 0% 2% 7%
25 Jan7 Feb 2022 Social Market Research University of Liverpool/Irish News 1,002 19.4% 23.2% 14.0% 9.9% 15.6% 6.4% 6.3% 2.3% 0.3% 2.6% 3.8%
3 Feb 2022 Paul Givan resigns as First Minister[34]
14–17 Jan 2022 LucidTalk Belfast Telegraph 3,112 17% 25% 14% 11% 14% 12% 3% 1% 1% 2% 8%
5–11 Nov 2021 LucidTalk Belfast Telegraph 3,298 18% 24% 14% 12% 15% 11% 2% 2% 0% 2% 6%
21–29 Oct 2021 Social Market Research University of Liverpool 1,002 20.6% 23.5% 13.0% 11.4% 17.3% 5.6% 3.9% 1.0% 0.7% 2.4% 2.9%
20–23 Aug 2021 LucidTalk Belfast Telegraph 2,403 13% 25% 16% 13% 13% 14% 2% 2% 0% 2% 9%
30 Jun 2021 Jeffrey Donaldson becomes leader of the Democratic Unionist Party[89]
17 Jun 2021 Paul Givan becomes First Minister[28]
17 May 2021 Doug Beattie is elected leader of the Ulster Unionist Party[90]
14–17 May 2021 LucidTalk Belfast Telegraph 3,072 16% 25% 14% 12% 16% 11% 2% 2% 0% 2% 9%
14 May 2021 Edwin Poots is elected leader of the Democratic Unionist Party[91]
22–25 Jan 2021 LucidTalk Belfast Telegraph 2,295 19% 24% 12% 13% 18% 10% 2% 1% 0% 1% 5%
2–5 Oct 2020 LucidTalk Belfast Telegraph 1,961 23% 24% 12% 13% 16% 6% 3% 2% 0% 1% 1%
31 Jan 2020 The United Kingdom leaves the European Union[92]
11 Jan 2020 The Executive is re-established[93]
12 Dec 2019 United Kingdom general election[94]
9 Nov 2019 Steve Aiken becomes leader of the Ulster Unionist Party[95]
23 May 2019 European Parliament election[96]
2 May 2019 Local elections[97]
23–26 Feb 2018 LucidTalk Northern Slant 2,079 33.6% 32.4% 10.3% 8.6% 8.0% 2.3% 1.9% 1.7% 1.7% 1.2%
1–4 Dec 2017 LucidTalk GUE/NGL 2,079 33.7% 32.8% 8.9% 8.6% 7.9% 1.1% 2.2% 1.1% 3.7% 0.9%
8–11 Sep 2017 LucidTalk N/A 2,080 35.5% 31.2% 9.6% 9.4% 8.6% 1.3% 1.7% 1.5% 1.3% 4.3%
2 Mar 2017 2017 Assembly election 28.1% 27.9% 12.9% 11.9% 9.1% 2.6% 2.3% 1.8% 3.6% 0.2%

* (U): Unionist, (N): Nationalist, (O): Other

Results

Votes were counted on 6 and 7 May.[98] Sinn Féin became the largest party, marking the first time an Irish nationalist/republican party won the most seats in an election in Northern Ireland, and has the right to nominate Northern Ireland's first nationalist First Minister. As Northern Ireland's government is based on power-sharing, the DUP (as second-largest party) must nominate a deputy First Minister for the Executive to be formed; however, they said they will not do so until their issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol are dealt with.[6]

The DUP's vote share dropped almost 7% and lost three seats; despite this, unionists won two more seats than nationalists—37 seats to 35—and a marginally higher share of the vote.[3] This being said, People Before Profit who returned one candidate to the Assembly favour a United Ireland though they officially designated themselves as Socialist on the electoral register when asked if they are Nationalist or Unionist however their party position is that of favouring a 32-county socialist Ireland. Alliance achieved their highest ever first-preference vote share in an Assembly election, becoming the third-largest party in the Assembly. They overtook the UUP (who lost one seat) and the SDLP (who lost four), who both received their lowest ever vote shares. The TUV also achieved their highest vote share, up 5% from the last election, but they did not win any more seats.[99] The Greens lost both seats they held before the election and were shut out of the Assembly for the first time since 2003.[4][5] Alex Easton, who left the DUP in 2021, was re-elected as an independent. Colum Eastwood believed SDLP voters gave their support to Sinn Féin in this election, saying "there's a tide there and people wanted to send a message, they wanted to kick the DUP and I think this is how they decided to do it".[49]

PartyVotes%+/–Seats+/–
Sinn Féin250,38829.02Increase1.1%27Steady
DUP184,00221.33Decrease6.7%25Decrease3
Alliance116,68113.53Increase4.5%17Increase9
UUP96,39011.17Decrease1.7%9Decrease1
SDLP78,2379.07Decrease2.9%8Decrease4
TUV65,7887.63Increase5.1%1Steady
Green (NI)16,4331.90Decrease0.4%Decrease2
Aontú12,7771.48NewNew
People Before Profit9,7981.14Decrease0.6%1Steady
PUP2,6650.31Decrease0.4%
Irish Republican Socialist1,8690.22NewNew
Workers'8390.10Decrease0.1%
Cross-Community Labour Alternative6020.07Decrease0.3%
Socialist5240.06NewNew
NI Conservative2540.03Decrease0.3%
Heritage1280.01NewNew
Resume Party130.00NewNew
Independents25,3152.93Increase1.1%2Increase1
Total862,703100.0090
Valid votes862,70398.73
Invalid/blank votes11,0781.27
Total votes873,781100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,373,73163.61
Map of the results
Map of the results

Distribution of seats by constituency

Party affiliation of the five 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 2019 United Kingdom general election under the first-past-the-post voting method.

2019 MP Constituency Total
seats
PBP Green Sinn
Féin
SDLP APNI UUP DUP TUV Ind. Seat
gained
by
Seat
formerly
held by
1 DUP North Antrim 5 1 1 1 1 1 Alliance DUP
2 DUP East Antrim 5 2 1 2 Alliance UUP
3 DUP South Antrim 5 1 1 1 2
4 SF Belfast North 5 2 1 2 Alliance SDLP
5 SF Belfast West 5 1 4
6 SDLP Belfast South 5 1 1 2 1 Alliance Green
7 DUP Belfast East 5 2 1 2
8 Alliance North Down 5 2 1 1 1
Ind. U
Alliance
DUP
Green
9 DUP Strangford 5 2 1 2 Alliance DUP
10 DUP Lagan Valley 5 2 1 2 Alliance SDLP
11 DUP Upper Bann 5 1 1 1 2 Alliance SDLP
12 SF South Down 5 2 1 1 1 Alliance SDLP
13 SF Newry and Armagh 5 3 1 1
14 SF Fermanagh & South Tyrone 5 3 1 1
15 SF West Tyrone 5 3 1 1
16 SF Mid Ulster 5 3 1 1
17 SDLP Foyle 5 2 2 1
18 DUP East Londonderry 5 1 1 2 1
18 Total 90 1 0 27 8 17 9 25 1 2
  Change since 2017 –2 –4 +9 –1 −3 +1
  Elected on 2 March 2017 90 1 2 27 12 8 10 28 1 1
  Elected on 5 May 2016 108 2 2 28 12 8 16 38 1 1
  Elected on 5 May 2011 108 0 1 29 14 8 16 38 1 1
  Elected on 7 March 2007 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

Share of first-preference votes

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.

The totals given here are the sum of all valid ballots cast in each constituency, and the percentages are based on such totals. The turnout percentages in the last column, however, are based upon all ballots cast, which also include anything from twenty to a thousand invalid ballots in each constituency. The total valid ballots' percentage of the eligible electorate can correspondingly differ by 0.1% to 2% from the turnout percentage.

2019
MP
MP's %
of 2019
vote
Constituency PBP
Aontú
Sinn
Féin
SDLP
Green
APNI UUP
DUP
TUV
Ind.
Others.
Total
votes
Eligible
elector-
ate
Turn-
out
 %
1 DUP 47.4% North Antrim 18.5 3.8 0.7 9.5 20.5 25.7 21.3 0.1 51,220 81,935 62.5%
2 DUP 45.3% East Antrim 9.1 3.0 1.9 23.1 24.2 29.6 9.1 40,693 67,699 60.1%
3 DUP 35.3% South Antrim 0.6 1.4 20.1 6.9 1.2 16.0 17.9 25.9 9.6 0.6 46,195 76,950 60.0%
4 SF 47.1% Belfast North 2.3 1.4 35.5 7.8 3.1 9.5 5.7 24.3 7.3 1.1 2.0 46,796 75,801 61.7%
5 SF 53.8% Belfast West 7.5 4.0 63.7 5.8 0.7 2.1 1.1 9.5 1.8 0.8 3.0 44,440 68,727 64.7%
6 SDLP 57.2% Belfast South 1.3 1.7 20.3 15.8 8.7 24.9 6.5 15.4 4.1 0.2 1.1 47,306 73,497 64.4%
7 DUP 49.2% Belfast East 1.2 3.2 1.1 5.3 32.4 15.2 32.1 7.1 2.4 43,840 70,123 62.5%
8 All. 45.2% North Down 1.7 1.7 6.6 28.9 12.4 19.9 3.8 24.5 0.6 42,198 70,176 60.1%
9 DUP 47.2% Strangford 3.9 6.0 2.0 24.1 15.2 33.8 12.7 0.3 41,345 70,775 58.4%
10 DUP 43.1% Lagan Valley 0.5 5.3 6.3 1.3 24.3 19.3 34.7 6.8 1.4 51,543 81,562 63.2%
11 DUP 41.0% Upper Bann 1.0 29.4 6.5 0.8 11.5 15.3 27.5 8.4 0.2 56,954 91,149 62.5%
12 SF 32.4% South Down 1.0 44.3 16.5 0.8 12.6 5.2 11.8 6.0 0.2 55,631 84,046 66.2%
13 SF 40.0% Newry & Armagh 2.0 47.0 10.6 0.5 5.7 6.6 12.9 9.2 5.4 0.3 59,693 87,156 68.5%
14 SF 43.3% Fermanagh & S. Tyrone 0.2 1.7 44.7 7.1 0.6 5.3 15.5 17.7 5.8 0.7 1.1 54,560 78,963 69.1%
15 SF 40.2% West Tyrone 0.8 1.4 47.0 11.9 0.6 6.5 4.1 14.4 9.1 3.9 0.4 46,629 69,702 66.9%
16 SF 45.9% Mid Ulster 0.4 2.5 52.7 10.0 0.3 4.1 4.2 16.5 7.4 1.7 0.2 52,274 75,168 69.5%
17 SDLP 57.0% Foyle 5.6 4.3 32.8 30.8 0.5 4.7 8.0 8.8 1.1 1.8 1.6 47,674 77,343 61.6%
18 DUP 40.1% East Londonderry 0.8 2.5 25.6 8.3 0.8 7.5 5.9 26.9 6.7 13.0 2.1 44,796 72,959 61.4%
Northern Ireland 1.1 1.5 29.0 9.1 1.9 13.5 11.2 21.3 7.6 2.9 0.8 873,781 1,373,731 63.6%
Change since 2017 –0.7 +1.5 +1.1 –2.8 –0.4 +4.4 –1.7 –6.8 +5.0 +1.1 –1.0 +60,998 +119,022 -1.2%
Election of March 2017 1.8 27.9 11.9 2.3 9.1 12.9 28.1 2.6 1.8 1.8 812,783 1,254,709 64.8%
Election of May 2016 2.0 24.0 12.0 2.7 7.0 12.6 29.2 3.4 3.9 3.3 703,744 1,281,595 54.9%
Election of May 2011 26.9 14.2 0.9 7.7 13.2 30.0 2.5 2.2 2.3 661,736 1,210,009 55.6%
Election of March 2007 26.2 15.2 1.7 5.2 14.9 30.1 3.8 2.8 690,313 1,107,904 62.9%
Election of Nov. 2003 23.5 17.0 0.4 3.7 22.7 25.7 5.6 2.8 692,026 1,097,526 63.1%
Election of June 1998 17.6 22.0 0.1 6.5 21.3 18.1 10.9 3.5 823,565 1,178,556 69.9%

Incumbents defeated

Defeated MLA Party Constituency New MLA Party Ref.
Roy Beggs Jr UUP East Antrim Danny Donnelly Alliance [49]
Dolores Kelly SDLP Upper Bann Eóin Tennyson Alliance [100]
Peter Weir DUP Strangford Nick Mathison Alliance [49]
Pat Catney SDLP Lagan Valley David Honeyford Alliance [49]
Clare Bailey Green (NI) Belfast South Kate Nicholl Alliance [101]
Mervyn Storey DUP North Antrim Patricia O'Lynn Alliance [49]
Rosemary Barton UUP Fermanagh and South Tyrone Tom Elliott UUP [49]
Nichola Mallon SDLP Belfast North Nuala McAllister Alliance [49]
Rachel Woods Green (NI) North Down Connie Egan Alliance [49]

Aftermath

Shortly before the final results were announced, O'Neill said: "Today ushers in a new era. Irrespective of religious, political or social backgrounds, my commitment is to make politics work."[102] Donaldson stated that the Executive would not sit unless the Northern Ireland Protocol was removed. He later announced that he would not take his Assembly seat, which was co-opted by Emma Little-Pengelly,[103] and the DUP would not be nominating a Speaker until the UK government took "decisive action".[104]

The SDLP responded by accusing the DUP of treating voters with contempt and "mak[ing] our electoral process look like a bad joke".[105] Long, leader of Alliance, said DUP Assembly Members should not be allowed to claim their salary while they prevented the Assembly from functioning.[106] These disagreements continued a political crisis from before the election, prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson to visit Northern Ireland to discuss amendments to the Protocol.[107][108]

See also

Other elections in the UK which were held on the same day:

Footnotes

  1. ^ Sinn Féin's president is Mary Lou McDonald, but she is not a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, as she is Leader of the Opposition in the neighbouring Republic of Ireland and sits in the lower house of the Oireachtas (the Republic of Ireland's parliament). O'Neill is the party's vice president.
  2. ^ People Before Profit has a collective leadership but for the purposes of registration to the UK Electoral Commission Eamonn McCann is registered as the party's leader in Northern Ireland.[1]
  3. ^ Taylor was suspended from the Greens on 29 April 2022, though his name still appeared on the ballot.[52]
  4. ^ Originally elected as Alliance
  5. ^ Originally elected as DUP

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2022 Northern Ireland Assembly election manifestos: