Sunday 7 June 2009

An Ulster earthquake?

There has been well informed speculation over the weekend in Northern Ireland on the excellent Slugger O'Toole blog that the DUP has had a disastrous result, with whether it will take one of the three European Parliament seats even in doubt.

It will be a novel experience for the DUP to be hit by the pan-European backlash against governing parties.

BBC Northern Ireland editor Mark Devenport explains the far-from-scientific but well practiced method of "tallying" here.

Sinn Fein topping the Northern Ireland poll looks certain. That was expected, given the long-term shift towards SF and against the SDLP within the nationalist vote, but is still a symbolic first.

What is more unexpected is the DUP potentially do very badly indeed, with the Unionist vote split between the Ulster Unionists, the DUP and a strong showing for 'Traditionalist Unionist Voice', in the first election since the DUP made a power-sharing agreement with Sinn Fein.

To some extent, this might be seen as the DUP being hoist by its own rejectionist petard - but the evidence of a strong rejectionist strand in Unionist opinion is worrying - and could destabilise the Stormont power-sharing coalition.

The count is not until Monday. While the Northern Ireland election have been overshadowed by the Westminster focus, this could yet be the part of Britain in which the European election fallout is most serious.

1 comment:

Tom Griffin said...

One one level you could still look at the result as progress, in that the DUP topped the poll in 2004 with the same candidate, and pretty much the same platform as the TUV ran on this year.

So there's arguably likely to be a bigger pro-agreement vote this time. I suspect that won't stop the DUP being spooked by the result though, unfortunately.