Sinn Féin’s Anderson re-elected as MEP after first count in Northern Ireland

DUP and Ulster Unionists expected to win remaining two seats

Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson at the King’s Hall, Belfast, after confirmation of her election. Photograph:  David Young/PA Wire

Sinn Fein’s Martina Anderson at the King’s Hall, Belfast, after confirmation of her election. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire

 

Outgoing Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson was returned to Brussels yesterday evening when she exceeded the quota on the first count in the Northern Ireland constituency.

Diane Dodds, who polled strongly in second place for the DUP, seemed certain to be elected in a subsequent count or counts, with the Ulster Unionist Party candidate, Jim Nicholson, favourite to retain his seat although under some pressure from the Traditional Unionist Voice party and the SDLP.

Anderson comfortably topped the poll with 159,813 votes, exceeding the quota of 156,532. Dodds was second, with 131,163 votes, and as she was almost 48,000 votes ahead of her nearest rival Nicholson was on course to be elected.

Nicholson, of the UUP, was third after the first count, with 83,438 votes. He was some 1,800 votes ahead of the SDLP’s Alex Attwood, who came in fourth with 81,594 votes. The TUV leader, Jim Allister, won 75,806 votes.

While both Attwood and Allister were close to the vote achieved by Nicholson it seemed unlikely that they could earn sufficient transfers to place them ahead of the UUP man. The count was continuing late last night.

The overall vote of Sinn Féin and the SDLP was 39 per cent, which was down three percentage points from the 2009 European election.

The six unionist or pro- union parties won 53 per cent of the vote compared to 49 per cent in 2009.

The turnout in this election, at 51.84 per cent, was almost 10 percentage points higher than in 2009, when only 42.8 per cent of the electorate voted.

Sinn Féin’s percentage share of the vote, at 25.5 per cent, was down marginally by 0.5 per cent. The DUP increased its vote by 2.7 per cent from 2009 when Ms Dodds was elected under the quota. The UUP share of the vote was down 2.7 per cent, while the SDLP was down three percentage points.

Of the 10 candidates, Anna Lo for Alliance came sixth with 44,432 votes, which was an increase of 1.6 per cent. Henry Reilly of Ukip polled 24,584 votes, while Ross Brown of the Greens won 10,598 votes, 45 votes ahead of Tina McKenzie of NI21.

Mark Brotherston for the Conservatives was in 10th and last position with 4,144 votes. Brotherston was eliminated and his second preferences transferred which made little difference to the figures. Last night Anderson’s surplus was being counted.