Northern Ireland Assembly Election, 1998

From Academic Kids

The first elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly were held on June 25, 1998.

The result was (first preference votes only) -

Party Votes Vote % Seats
Social Democratic and Labour Party 177,963 21.99 24
Ulster Unionist Party 172,225 21.28 28
Democratic Unionist Party 145,917 18.03 20
Sinn Féin 142,858 17.65 18
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 52,636 6.50 6
UK Unionist Party 36,541 4.52 5
Independent Unionists 24,339 3.00 3
Progressive Unionist Party 20,634 2.55 2
Northern Ireland Women's Coalition 13,019 1.61 2

Although the SDLP won the most first preference votes, the Ulster Unionists won the most seats in the Assembly. This has been attributed to several reasons, including:

  • Slightly differential turnouts across the province, with the result that in the more staunchly unionist east fewer votes were required to elect an MLA than in the SDLP's heartlands in the west.
  • The Ulster Unionists proved better at "vote balancing" whereby in the rounds of transfers their candidates were less likely to be eliminated earlier on.
  • The Ulster Unionists proved better at attracting transfers from other parties (and due to the vote balancing mentioned above, were more likely to be a position to benefit from this)

See also: Northern Ireland Assembly Election, 2003

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