Three candidates will take part in the contest to become the next DUP deputy leader.
Assembly members (MLAs) Paula Bradley and Paul Frew, who represent North Belfast and North Antrim respectively, and East Derry MP Gregory Campbell are seeking to replace Nigel Dodds, who announced earlier this week that he would not seek re-election.
Nominations for the positions of leader and deputy leader of the party closed at 5pm on Thursday. The nominations were confirmed in a statement from the party’s chairman, George Morrow.
As expected, Minister for Agriculture Edwin Poots and Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson were the only two candidates to put their names forward to succeed Arlene Foster as party leader.
The election will take place next Friday, May 14th, when the DUP’s electoral college of 28 MLAs and eight MPs will vote by secret ballot for the next leader and deputy leader.
No media interviews
Ms Foster resigned last week after more than three-quarters of the party’s MLAs and MPs signed a letter of no confidence in her leadership.
The Belfast News Letter reported on Thursday that the leadership candidates had been banned by the DUP press office from doing interviews about the contest.
It quoted a “guidance note” which said party officers had decided that “no candidate is to be fielded by the party for media appearances/interview”.
Mr Poots has sent a four-page manifesto to party colleagues, in which he pledges to “lead the campaign against the undemocratic [Northern Ireland] protocol and systematically undermine and strip away all aspects of it”.
He also said that, as leader, he would launch several “pro-Union initiatives”, including a “unionist convention of political and civic unionism to maximise unionist representation after the 2022 Assembly election.”