Northern Ireland Assembly election, 1998

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Northern Ireland Assembly election, 1998
← 1996 25 June 1998 2003 →

All 108 seats to the Northern Ireland Assembly
55 seats needed for a majority
Turnout 69.8%

  First party Second party Third party
  David Trimble.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 Decrease2 Increase3 Decrease4
Popular vote 172,225 177,963 145,917
Percentage 21.3% 22.0% 18.5%
Swing Decrease2.9% Increase0.6% Decrease0.3%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  Gerry Adams 2016 (infobox).jpg Official portrait of Lord Alderdice crop 2.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 Increase1 Decrease1 Increase2
Popular vote 142,858 52,636 36,541
Percentage 16.7% 5.6% 4.5%
Swing Increase1.2% Decrease0.9% Increase0.8%

  Seventh party Eighth party
  No image.png No image.png
Party PUP NI Women's Coalition
Last election 2 seats, 3.5% 2 seats, 1.0%
Seats won 2 2
Seat change Steady Steady
Popular vote 20,634 13,019
Percentage 2.6% 1.6%
Swing Decrease0.9% Increase0.6%

Northern Ireland Election Map 1998.svg
Seats won by each party per constituency. Voters elect 6 assembly members from the 18 constituencies.

First Minister before election

New position

Elected First Minister

David Trimble
UUP

The first election for the Northern Ireland Assembly was held on Thursday 25 June 1998. Six members from each of Northern Ireland's eighteen Westminster Parliamentary constituencies were elected by single transferable vote, giving a total of 108 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs).

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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):[1]

Northernirelandassembly asof Jun 1998.PNG

Party Leader Votes % of vote +/- Seats % of seats +/-
SDLP John Hume 177,963 22.0 +0.6 24 22.2 +3
UUP David Trimble 172,225 21.3 -2.9 28 25.9 -2
DUP Ian Paisley 145,917 18.0 -0.8 20 18.5 -4
Sinn Féin Gerry Adams 142,858 17.7 +2.2 18 16.7 +1
Alliance John Alderdice 52,636 6.5 0.0 6 5.6 -1
UK Unionist Robert McCartney 36,541 4.5 +0.8 5 4.6 +2
Independent Unionist 24,339 3.0 N/A 3 2.8 +3
PUP Hugh Smyth 20,634 2.6 -1.0 2 1.9 0
NI Women's Coalition Monica McWilliams 13,019 1.6 +0.6 2 1.9 0
Ulster Democratic Gary McMichael 8,651 1.1 -1.1 0 -2
Independent 5,392 0.7 N/A 0 0
Labour Party NI Malachi Curran 2,729 0.3 N/A 0 0
Workers' Party Tom French 1,989 0.3 -0.3 0 0
NI Conservatives William Hague 1,835 0.2 -0.3 0 0
Ulster Independence Hugh Ross 1,227 0.2 -0.4 0 0
Natural Law James Anderson 832 0.1 0.0 0 0
Socialist Party Joe Higgins 789 0.1 N/A 0 0
Green (NI) 710 0.1 -0.4 0 0
 Total 108 100.0% -2 786,132 100.0%

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

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]

References[edit]