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Fermanagh and South Tyrone is the south-western corner of Northern Ireland. In 2016, Nationalists and Unionists divided the seats three each, with Nationalists a whisker ahead in votes, 48.4% to 47.9%.

2016 result
DUP 15,403 (32.6%, +8.2%) 2 seats
UUP 6,028 (12.8%, -6.5%) 1 seat
TUV 1,164 (2.5%, -0.1%)

Green 897 (1.9%)
Alliance 539 (1.1%, -0.7%)
NI Labour 285 (0.6%)

Sinn Féin 18,847 (39.9%, -0.4%) 2 seats (-1)
SDLP 4,014 (8.5%, -1.1%) 1 seat (+1)
2017 candidates
@Arlene Foster (DUP)
@[Lord] Maurice Morrow (DUP)
@Rosemary Barton (UUP)
Alex Elliott (TUV)
Richard Dunn (Cons)

Noreen Campbell (Alliance)
Tanya Jones (Green)
Donal O'Cofaigh (CCLA)

@Richie McPhillips (SDLP)
Jemma Dolan (SF)
@Michelle Gildernew (SF)
@Sean Lynch (SF)


All six incumbents are standing again. There is an even gender split both among incumbent MLAs and among the 14 candidates.

SF and the DUP are defending two seats each on 2.4 and 2.0 quotas respectively; the UUP and SDLP are defending theirs on 0.8 of a quota and 0.5. In 2016 there were 2.88 Unionist quotas and 2.90 Nationalist quotas, so it looks very tight; the scramble for the last seat could be very close indeed.

But I'm calling this as a likely SDLP loss. It's not just that Unionists tend to be better at internal transfers than Nationalists, but it's also important to note that McPhillips owed his seat in 2016 to UUP transfers which came to him once there were no Unionist candidates left in the race, and this year there will be no such spare Unionist votes for him to sweep up.

Having said that, the UUP position is surprisingly precarious for a seat that they hold at Westminster.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 18th, 2017 07:49 pm (UTC)
I am glad UKIP are not standing. Up the Alliance
(Anonymous)
Feb. 19th, 2017 12:51 pm (UTC)
Third seat for SF?
Any likelihood, I wonder, of both SDLP and UUP losing out, with SF sneaking a third seat. In 2016 the last seat was a close run thing between SDLP and SF. Of course the quota is higher now, but I wonder where the SDLP transfers will go if he is eliminated ...
nwhyte
Feb. 19th, 2017 04:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Third seat for SF?
Yes, it certainly can't be excluded; it would require only a modest rise in the SF vote, combined with slippage for the UUP.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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