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European Election (NI) - Thursday 4 June 2009

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European Election (NI)
Thursday 4 June 2009

The following page contains the results of the 2009 European Parliament elections held in Northern Ireland on Thursday 4 June.



The elections on Thursday 4 June 2009 were held to elect three Members to the European Parliament (MEPs). For the purpose of the European elections Northern Ireland is treated as a single constituency and voting is by means of proportional representation (PR).

Since the first direct election to the European Parliament in 1979 the seat division in Northern Ireland has followed a set pattern with two unionists being returned to one nationalist. But as the 2009 campaign got under way there was speculation that this arrangement might change. This was largely based on a series of events prior to the 2009 campaign getting underway. To begin with the 2009 European election marked the first major test of the mood of the Northern Ireland electorate since devolved government had been restored in May 2007. This development had been the result of a long series of negotiations which had ended with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein agreeing to share power with each other. The DUP decision however was opposed by its sitting MEP Jim Allister and in March 2007 he resigned from the party. Initially he continued to sit as an Independent Unionist MEP but in December 2007 Allister moved to establish a new political grouping Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV). Then in February 2009 the DUP nominated the Belfast City Councillor and former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Diane Dodds, as the party's candidate for the fortcoming European election. From the outset Dodds made clear her intention was threefold: to regain the seat the DUP had held since 1979; to ensure that the DUP topped the poll as it had done in every European electiuon since 1979; and fianlly to guarantee that the sitting Sinn Fein MEP, Bairbre De Brún would not come first.

There was a real fear within unionism that this latter point was a distinct possibility given the presence of a third unionist candidate in the campaign, Jim Nicholson, the sitting Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MEP. Nicholson had held a seat in the European parliament for the UUP since 1989 but had always relied on transfers from the DUP to ensure his election. But on this occasion he was to talk up the possibility of topping the poll in Northern Ireland in the face of the contest between Dodds and Allister. An added interest in Nicholson's canditature was the fact it he was standing this time for the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force (UCUNF). The UCUNF was the culmination of talks between the UUP and the Conservative Party in Britain to re-establish the historical link between the two parties. Instead of a formal merger between the two it was agreed to create an electoral alliance to fight future elections in Northern Ireland.

On the nationalist side the expectation was that SF's recent electoral dominance of the Social Democratic Labour Party (SDLP) would be maintained. This would mean that the sitting SF MEP, Bairbre De Brún, was expected to retain the seat that she had won for the party from the SDLP back in 2004. Rather from SF's perspective the real interest was in whether De Brún could top the poll and be the first nationalist candidate to do so. As for the SDLP its main goal was to reverse its loss in 2004 and the hope was that the fragmentation in the unionist vote would allow the party to win the third seat.

Finally two other candidates were to enter the field. For the Green Party its objective was to improve on its 2004 performance. Whilst the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) had not nominated a candidate in 2004 and was so fighting its first European election since 1999.

Seven candidates took part in the contest - their names and political parties are listed in the table below. The count of votes took place on Monday 8 June 2009 following the completion of voting in other European countries. The three candidates elected were: Bairbre De Brún (Sinn Féin; SF) at the first stage, Jim Nicholson (Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force; UCUNF) and Diane Dodds (Democratic Unionist Party; DUP) who were elected at the third stage. The details of transfers of votes and elimination of candidates is to be found in the tables below.

See also:
ARK Web site - The 2009 European Elections
Election Manifestos
Electoral Office Northern Ireland. (2009) European election 2009: Votes polled by Westminster constituency, [PDF; 12KB]. Belfast: Electoral Office Northern Ireland.
Electoral Office Northern Ireland. (2009) European election 2009: Stage Results, [PDF; 124KB]. Belfast: Electoral Office Northern Ireland.


Summary of Results:

Eligible Electorate: 1,141,979
Number of Votes Cast (Turnout / Poll): 488,891
Percentage Turnout / Poll: 42.81%
Number of Invalid / Spoilt Votes: 4,319
Number of Valid Votes Cast: 488,891
Percentage Valid Votes Cast: 42.43%
Quota: 121,144


First Stage

Candidate and Party
First Preference Votes
% Valid Poll
Stephen Agnew        
Green Party (GP)
Manifesto [PDF; 280KB]
15,764 3.3
Jim Allister        
Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV)
Manifesto [PDF; 796KB]
66,197 13.7
Bairbre De Brún         [elected at first stage stage]
Sinn Fein (SF)
Manifesto [PDF 3199KB]
126,184 26
Diane Dodds
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
Manifesto [PDF; 3540KB]
88,346 18.2
Alban Maginness
Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)
Manifesto [PDF; 2646KB]
78,489 16.2
Jim Nicholson
Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force (UCUNF)
Manifesto [PDF; 863KB]
82,893 17.1
Ian Parsley
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI)
Manifesto [PDF; 280KB]
26,699 5.5

Bairbre De Brún (SF) elected at the first stage.
Steven Agnew (Green) and Ian Parsley (APNI) eliminated at the first stage and their votes redistributed


Second Stage

Candidate and Party
Votes Distributed
New Total
Jim Nicholson (Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force (UCUNF)
Alban Maginess (Social, Democratic and Labour Party; SDLP)
Jim Allister (Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV)
Diane Dodds (Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)

Jim Allister (TUV) was eliminated at the second stage and his votes redistributed; non-transferable votes 7,548.

Third Stage

Distribution of the votes from Jim Allister.

Candidate and Party
Votes Distributed
New Total
Jim Nicholson (Ulster Conservatives and Unionists - New Force (UCUNF)
Alban Maginness (Social, Democratic and Labour Party; SDLP)
Diane Dodds (Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)

Jim Nicholson (UCUNF) and Diane Dodds (DUP) elected at the third stage; non-transferable votes 5,463.


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