Category: Archive

Pro-agreement parties should control assembly

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jack Holland

This week’s assembly elections will almost certainly confirm the dominance of the Ulster Unionist Party and the Social Democratic and Labor Party, giving them almost half of the 108 seats, according to informed sources. These predict that the UUP will take 33 seats and the SDLP 24. The third place is likely to go to the Rev. Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party, with 19 seats. Sinn Fein is thought likely to win 17, the Alliance Party 7, the Progressive Unionist Party (which is linked to the outlawed UVF) 3, the United Kingdom Unionist Party 2, while the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition might take one seat, and others, 2.

If accurate, this would be good news indeed for the pro-agreement parties. It would mean that the anti-agreement block of DUP and UKUP would have only 21 seats between them. A minimum of 30 members is needed to put bring an issue before the house to trigger the parallel consent mechanism. This requires that a majority of both communities must agree on it before it is passed.

The pro-agreement parties would have an overwhelming majority of 85 seats, enough to ensure stability even if some of the UUP members turn out to be anti-agreement. Some suggest this figure could be as high as 6. But even if this turned out to be accurate, it still would not give the anti-agreement parties the magic 30.

The predicted results would also be good news for the PUP, which is fighting the carve a place for itself in Belfast against strong opposition from Paisley’s DUP. Its candidates are running in East, North and West Belfast. During the referendum the PUP was subjected to what it claims was a

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