Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Belfast - Council Election Preview

In previewing the new Belfast Council I am bowing to the superior knowledge of Noel McAdam in the Belfast Telegraph, 'Irish Observer' in the Vote UK Forum, the renowed statistician Nicholas Whyte on Slugger O'Toole  and 'Faha' over on Bangordub's excellent blog.

Belfast once a Unionist dominated stronghold is on the verge of shifting to overall Nationalist control. The 'fleg' controversy has added additional emphasis.

The consensus is that Nationalists will just fall short of an outright majority of 30, this time. However with 34 seats in play, an increased turnover and a willingness to transfer could see a major and historic win for Nationalism. It would be interesting to watch the fallout among Unionism over the loss or surrender or sell out of the hugely significant and symbolic local Council.


  1. Nicely summarised. What's your own opinion Enda?

    (No idea myself )

    Anything above 28 and it will be interesting to see the Unionist reaction.

  2. Not too be too pedantic but 31 would be an overall majority.

    I think 27 is a minimum with no breaks for nationalists. I think a 4th seat in court and a single seat in Titanic are likely. That would be 29. A third seat in either of the south Belfast areas, a fifth in Oldpark and a third in Court are the outside chances.

  3. Fourth seat in castle*

  4. I think the mayor or chairperson has the casting vote if its an even split giving nats control?

  5. In the event of a tie (30-30) it would seem difficult to get agreement on a mayor

  6. Surely the mayor will still be elected by D'Hondt? i.e. SF first

    Actually all but SF and DUP may be shut out completely over the 4 years if predictions are realised.

    21SF 17DUP 8SDLP 8ALL 4UUP 2PUP would give


    The SDLP got the 4th mayor on this mandate but the new boundaries extend into SF, DUP and ALL territory. If the SDLP were able to get a ninth seat in Court, Balmoral or Botanic. They'd probably be able to get the last mayor role.

  7. Nats being the largest bloc was one reason why alliance favoured designated days. They of course would say they are neither N or U.
    A SF All SDLP and perhaps NI21 lead council makes a lot more sense than All DUP UUP PUP which still wouldnt be enough to take control. It may not be an absolute majority for the greenies but at least places them in the driving seat.
    Majority rule an ll that how you like em apples Mr Allistar >)

  8. Another Q will a majority in Belfast for Nats along with the other four give them control of over 50% of the norths population at council level?

  9. Interseting stuff about the casting vote in the event of 30 Nationalist seats. It will also be very interesting to see how Armagh Banbridge Craigavon & the Causeway Coast councils pan out as these are the other maginals. If Unionists don't have overall control of either after the next council elections we could be left with five nationalist controlled five Unionist controlled and one with Alliance holding the balance of power.

  10. I see Henry Reilly of UKIP gone into 5/1 from 50/1. Whats that about?

  11. Enda,

    The ABC and Causeway councils will almost certainly be unionist controlled. I had a look at the likelihood of becoming hung councils and nationalists need a lot of breaks and alliance need to pick up all available transfers.

    ABC: There are 41 seats here. Meaning 21 non unionists must be elected for hung status. That means, nationalists need 5 in Armagh (50/50), 2 in Portadown (likely) , 3 plus 1 alliance in Craigavon (highly unlikely), 5 or 4 plus alliance in Lurgan (unlikely but SF would appear to disagree running 5 candidates), 1 or 1 alliance in lagan river (50/50), 1 in Cusher (likely), and 2 plus alliance in Banbridge (possible but unlikely). That is the only path to a hung ABC that I see.

    Likewise in Causeway: 40 seats in total requires 20 non unionists for hung status.

    Again the only path I see is : 4 in benbradagh (likely), 2 in Limavady (likely), 2 in Bann (50/50), 3 or 2 plus alliance in Ballymoney (unlikely), 4 in the glens (likely), 1 plus alliance in Coleraine (likely), 1 plus alliance plus independent in Causeway (unlikely).

    I think both of these scenarios are unlikely. Who knows what will be possible in the future though. This election will be good to measure where the targets should be for next time.

  12. Can't say I disagree with any of that. Care to have a guess at the break down of seats in both constituencies?