June 8th, 2009


Northern Ireland first round

Bairbre De Brun, Sinn Fein - 126,184 (26%)
Diane Dodds, DUP - 88,346 (18.2%)
Jim Nicholson, Ulster Conservative and Unionist - 82,893 (17.1%)
Alban Maginness, SDLP - 78,489 (16.2%)
Jim Allister, Traditional Unionist Voice - 66,197 (13.7%)
Ian Parsley, Alliance - 26,699 (5.5%)
Steven Agnew, Green Party - 15,764 (3.3%)
Quota: 121,144

Looks like my former French teacher will have the largest personal vote of any member of the new European Parliament (because the only other places where there isn't a list system are the Republic and the German-speaking cantons of Belgium, where the number of voters is much fewer).

Glad to see that my gut feeling that SF's vote might have dropped slightly was correct. (SDLP vote share actually up slightly, but won't help them, though I see some eternal optimists still think Alban can make it.)

Best Alliance result in a European election since 1979.

Very cheering I expect for Jim Allister, though he will still lose and see Nicholson and Dodds elected on his transfers.

Second count

Distribution of Green and Alliance votes:

Alban Maginness (SDLP) +16,325 = 94,814
Jim Nicholson (UCUNF) +11,392 = 94,285
Diane Dodds (DUP) +2,914 = 91,260
Jim Allister (TUV) +4,284 = 70,481
Non-transferable: 7,548

Puts poor Alban ahead by a nose, but he will be easily overtaken by the other two on Allister's transfers. The Green and Alliance transfers split pretty evenly between Unionists and Nationalists.

The final countdown

Jim Nicholson (UUP) + 37,942 = 132,227
Diane Dodds (DUP) + 24,462 = 115,722
Alban Maginness (SDLP) + 2,614 = 97,428
5,463 non-transferable

Nicholson is over the quota (which was 121,144), so he is elected.

Votes left in the system: the SF surplus of 5,040, and Nicholson's surplus of 11,113. Even in the unlikely event that they all went to Maginness, he would still be more than 3,000 votes short of Dodds, so she is elected.

(pwilkinson - I failed to report the 7,548 untransferred votes from Alliance and Greens, which possibly threw out your calculations.)

So 53% of Allister's votes went to Nicholson, and only 35% to his former party.

On this basis I fancy his chances of winning a seat at the next Westminster election are good, esp in North Antrim which has a history oif maverick election results going back more than a century.

Highest personal vote

A Belgian correspondent on Facebook queries my statement that Bairbre De Brún has a particularly high personal vote, and of course he is quite right; when you take open lists (as we have here) into account, her 126,184 votes rather pale into insignificance behind Guy Verhofstadt's 565,359. I haven't gone through the EU27 figures to work out if anyone beat Verhofstadt, but it's clear that several Belgians beat De Brún.