Northern Ireland Assembly election, 1998

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Northern Ireland Assembly election, 1998

1996 ←
members
25 June 1998 → 2003
members

All 108 seats to the Northern Ireland Assembly
55 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  David Trimble at Lisburn Seed Group benefit, Hillsborough Castle, Christmas 2007 crop.jpg John Hume 2008.jpg DrIanPaisley.jpg
Leader David Trimble John Hume Ian Paisley
Party UUP SDLP DUP
Leader since 8 September 1995 28 November 1979 30 September 1971
Leader's seat Upper Bann Foyle North Antrim
Last election 30 seats (24.2%) 21 seats (21.4%) 24 seats (18.8%)
Seats won 28 24 20
Seat change Decrease 2 Increase 3 Decrease 4
Popular vote 172,225 177,963 145,917
Percentage 21.3% 22.0% 18.5%
Swing Decrease 2.9% Increase 0.6% Decrease 0.3%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Gerry Adams 2013.jpg Lord Alderdice.jpg No image.png
Leader Gerry Adams John Alderdice Robert McCartney
Party Sinn Féin Alliance UK Unionist
Leader since 13 November 1983 3 October 1987 1995
Leader's seat Belfast West Belfast East North Down
Last election 17 seats (15.5%) 7 seats (6.5%) 3 seats (3.7%)
Seats won 18 6 5
Seat change Increase 1 Decrease 1 Increase 2
Popular vote 142,858 52,636 36,541
Percentage 16.7% 5.6% 4.5%
Swing Increase 1.2% Decrease 0.9% Increase 0.8%

Northern Ireland Assembly election 1998.png

Percentage of seats gained by each of the party.

First Minister before election

New position

Elected First Minister

David Trimble
UUP

The first elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly were held on Thursday 25 June 1998. Six members were elected by Single Transferable Vote from each of Northern Ireland's eighteen Westminster Parliamentary constituencies, giving a total of 108 MLAs, or Members of the Legislative Assembly.

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Northern Ireland

Results[edit]

The result was (first preference votes only):

Northernirelandassembly asof Jun 1998.PNG

Party
Leader
Seats
% of
seats
Votes
% of
vote
Rank
UUP Trimble, DavidDavid Trimble 28 25.9% 172,225 21.28% 2
SDLP Hume, JohnJohn Hume 24 22.2% 177,963 21.99% 1
DUP Paisley, IanIan Paisley 20 18.5% 145,917 18.03% 3
Sinn Féin Adams, GerryGerry Adams 18 16.7% 142,858 17.65% 4
Alliance Alderdice, JohnJohn Alderdice 6 5.6% 52,636 6.50% 5
UK Unionist McCartney, RobertRobert McCartney 5 4.6% 36,541 4.52% 6
Independent Unionist 3 2.8% 24,339 3.00% 7
PUP Smyth, HughHugh Smyth 2 1.9% 20,634 2.55% 8
NI Women's Coalition McWilliams, MonicaMonica McWilliams 2 1.9% 13,019 1.61% 9
Ulster Democratic McMichael, GaryGary McMichael 0 8,651 1.07% 10
Independent 0 5,392 0.69% *
Labour Party NI Curran, MalachiMalachi Curran 0 2,729 0.34% 11
Workers' Party French, TomTom French 0 1,989 0.25% 12
Conservative Hague, WilliamWilliam Hague 0 1,835 0.23% 13
Ulster Independence Ross, HughHugh Ross 0 1,227 0.15% 17
Natural Law Anderson, JamesJames Anderson 0 832 0.10% 18
Socialist Party Higgins, JoeJoe Higgins 0 789 0.10% 19
Green (NI) 0 710 0.09% 20
 Total 108 100.0% 786,132 100.0%

All parties with over 500 votes listed. Electorate: 1,178,556; Turnout: 823,565 (69.88%); Spoiled votes: 13,248; Valid: 810,317.

¹ Independent candidates were ranked 14, 15 and 16; other independents won fewer than 500 votes.

Votes summary[edit]

Popular vote
SDLP
  
21.96%
Ulster Unionist
  
21.25%
DUP
  
18.14%
Sinn Féin
  
17.63%
Alliance
  
6.5%
United Kingdom Unionist
  
4.51%
Progressive Unionist
  
2.55%
Women's Coalition
  
1.61%
Ulster Democratic
  
1.07%
Independent
  
3.51%
Other
  
1.27%

Seats summary[edit]

Parliamentary seats
SDLP
  
22.22%
Ulster Unionist
  
25.93%
DUP
  
18.52%
Sinn Féin
  
16.67%
Alliance
  
5.56%
United Kingdom Unionist
  
4.63%
Progressive Unionist
  
1.85%
Women's Coalition
  
1.85%
Independent
  
2.78%

Details[edit]

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

  • Slightly different 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 in a position to benefit from this)

See also[edit]