AMANDA FERGUSON in Belfast City Hall

Sunday, May 21, 2023

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Sinn Féin knew it was doing well during the election campaign but their success at #LE23 is beyond what even they had thought would happen.

It became the largest party at Stormont at the Assembly election in May 2022, and is now the largest party at local council level.

The political landscape on this island is changing. Focus will soon shift to the next elections across these islands.

Voting took place on Thursday, May 18, and results took two days to be delivered.

First preference votes highlighted Sinn Féin's dominance. It won 30.9% versus 23.3% for the DUP, 13.3% for Alliance, 10.9% for the UUP and 8.7% for the SDLP.

The DUP entered this campaign knowing that it was in a tricky position. The party fielded fewer candidates. It was always going to take a bit of a slap but it was never going to be fatal. They are still the largest party of unionism and have a mandate for their position on the post Brexit trading arrangements and ongoing boycott of Stormont.

The Alliance Party also has reason to celebrate. The post mortem will look at where things didn’t work so well but they can be happy. The party is still growing but its surge has stuttered in places. Still a good day for them.

The SDLP and UUP have some good people and pockets of positivity in #LE23 but both have work to do. The SDLP on attack doesn’t work for them, and the UUP, while it isn’t necessarily being rewarded for it, seems most aware of what unionists need to hear and what needs done to try to maintain the union with Britain.

Variety is good for democracy and for the people. The Greens, PBP, PUP will have to think what is next.

On another note “activist” style councillors with real life experience, seen to be delivering in communities, are being rewarded. Take note!

Seat 462/462 came in at 12.10am today. Mick Collins retained his seat for People Before Profit in Collin.

You can read my Reuters piece here: Sinn Fein sweep past unionist rivals again in Northern Ireland local elections

The full results were:

It's remarkable that the following first has taken until 2023 but Lilian Seenoi Barr winning a seat in Foyleside is an important highlight.

And what about this kid!

On top of my tv and radio work (thanks everyone for all the comments) you can search @AmandaFBelfast #LE23 on Twitter for more online posts.


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