Final breakdown of #ae16 MLAs and D’Hondt sequence

With the count complete in Upper Bann, all 108 MLAs have been elected. The 2016 seat totals are remarkably consistent with 2011. [Graphic updated to move People Before Profit to be adjacent to Green Party and other MLAs designating as ‘other’.]

2016 vs 2011 Assembly election party seats ring PBP as otherYet behind the figures, internal party dynamics and voter sentiment have been at play and a number of contests have returned new MLAs rather than a sitting and contesting MLA.

Arlene Foster’s DUP will now lack the McCrea and McIlveen surnames in her Assembly squad [Ed – Ahem, Michelle hasn’t gone away you know!], with Ian and David being replaced respectively by Keith Buchanan in Mid Ulster and Philip Logan in North Antrim. Colin McGrath polled ahead of Sean Rogers for the SDLP in South Down, while Sinn Féin’s Cathal Ó hOisín is replaced with Caoimhe Archibald in East Londonderry and Steve Aiken steps into the shoes of the UUP’s Adrian Cochrane-Watson in South Antrim. Some of these swaps suggest that parties need to rethink their succession planning and co-option strategies.

When the D’Hondt handle is cranked to allow parties to select ministries, the order will be as follows.

(If the SDLP’s Dolores Kelly had held onto her seat in Upper Bann at the expense of Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, the SDLP would have had a choice as opposed to inheriting the final remaining ministry.)

The UUP will have to wait in turn to see if the Education ministry is still free after the DUP and Sinn Féin make the first three choices.

The new departments are:

  • Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs
  • Infrastructure
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Communities
  • Justice
  • The Executive Office

Will the order be Finance -> Economy -> Health -> Education? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

DHondt ae16 UUP and SDLP opt outUpdated: On Twitter, John Ó Néill raised the issue of how D’Hondt would run if the UUP and/or SDLP chose not to nominate. I think the order is as follows, but the sharp-eyed readers of Slugger should feel free to check my homework!

  • Dominic Hendron

    OPPOSITION! OPPOSITION! OPPOSITION!

  • David Crozier

    If they all stay in Executive:

    DUP – Finance
    SF – Economy
    DUP – Education
    UUP – Agriculture
    SF – Communities
    SDLP – Health
    DUP – Infrastructure
    Alliance – Justice

    High likelihood SDLP will look at PBP vote as justification to go into opposition and start rebuilding for 2021.

  • Skibo

    Should SDLP and UU decide to go to opposition, breakdown would be as follows
    DUP 3 plus Executive
    SF 3 plus Executive
    Alliance 1 plus Justice
    The biggest issue is if Alliance joins the opposition, what does DUP and SF do about Justice? Maybe a joint ministry similar to the Executive.
    I think the time is right for a voluntary executive. for one thing it would stifle the power of the TUV.
    SDLP have to start and steal the clothes of PBP. Your man McCann is 73 this year. I know he looks great for it but by 21 he will be 78.
    In fairness in 2021 there will only be 5 seats per constituency and possibly 17 constituencies and a whole new ball game.

  • Ryan A

    I don’t hear any public noise from Alliance even contemplating Opposition, but I think they should do it. They won’t get their wishlist from DUP/SF on those results and from a selfish electoral point of view looking at David Ford’s vote taking DoJ is not worthwhile. There are likely other reasons why his and notably Trevor Lunn’s vote fell and I imagine the social issues debate coming to the fore in the last mandate may have been part of it but that will be for another thread ..

  • Nevin

    “[Graphic updated to move People Before Profit to be adjacent to Green Party and other MLAs designating as ‘other’.]”

    Why is PBPA being labelled Other? Is it not just a rebranded Peoples Democracy; a red as distinct from a green nationalist party?

    People Before Profit is a 32 county party that stand in the tradition of James Connolly who predicted that partition would produce a carnival of reaction. We believe that the only way to bring people together across this island is by building a grassroots movement from below, based on people power and socialist politics, not one that is based on locking in the two existing Irish states.

    We want working class unity to develop from a 32 county anti-austerity movement that challenges both Irish states. PBPA source

  • Séamus

    They designate themselves as ‘other’.

  • Skibo

    If SDLP go into opposition then I believe their seat will go to Alliance as they would have the same D’hondt ratio but Alliance would have a higher share of first preference votes.
    giving 3 DUP 2SF 1UU and 1Alliance plus the FM/DFM and Justice.
    A more balanced executive would be if UU joined SDLP in opposition with SF claiming the UU seat.

  • David Crozier

    I think it unlikely the UU will go into opposition if it means handing ministerial position to SF as DUP would crucify them. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

  • oval

    Can anyone other than DUP take health bearing in mind that its Permanent Secretary is married to a certain high ranking DUP member?

  • David Crozier

    He could always join her at Education

  • Nevin

    Can you think of any reason or reasons why, Séamus?

  • Gingray

    Skibo – not sure about that?

    Alliance got 8 after all so it would be:

    1 – DUP (38)

    2 – SF (28)
    3 – DUP (19)
    4 – SF (14)
    5 – DUP (12.7)
    6 – DUP (9.5)
    7 – SF (9.3)

    8 – Alliance (8)

    For the 8th seat, as justice, Alliance would need cross community support. If they failed to get it, Justice would be offered in turn to Greens, PBP and TUV.

  • Reader

    I note your update, and I see that if the SDLP doesn’t nominate, that transfers a ministry from Nationalist to unionist (5+2). If the UUP doesn’t nominate, it stays as the original 4+3 – so it’s the UUP that can jump first without being crucified by their electorate. The SDLP can then safely jump too – it will remain 4+3

  • Skibo

    Fair point David. SDLP would be giving theirs to Alliance, not the same is it?

  • Gingray

    Skibo, do you know how dhondt works?

    Based on current seats Alliance would have a 10th seat, with all parties participating.

  • Gingray

    Skibo, you do realise your numbers are wrong?

    Here are the dhondt figures for each party for multiple seats.

    Dup – 38, 19, 12.7, 9.5, 7.6
    SF – 28, 14, 9.3, 7
    Uup – 16, 8
    SDLP – 12
    Alliance – 8

  • Gingray

    Perhaps they think that the constitutional question is less important than solving poverty and can be addressed within the current structures?

  • Kevin Breslin

    My D’Hondt calculations would have Alliance having seat 8 as of right. Would they get the Justice ministry as of right.

  • Pasty2012

    Given the Welfare Cuts that will only be felt over the coming 12-18 months by the community at large then it makes more sense for the SDLP and the UUP to go into opposition and allow the 2 larger Party’s to take the full blame for the stringent cuts.
    The likelihood is that Sinn Fein will Loss further seats in the election after this as it is their constituency that will be affected to a greater extent. PBPA will of course make much of the fact that it will be SF who are implementing the cuts and should they take the Department for Communities (DfC) who will be responsible for the Social Security cuts then the direct link with them and the cuts will be easy for them to highlight.

  • Skibo

    I stand corrected Gingray. I was halving the number of seats each time a minister was elected. I guess I get a D for that. Must brush up on my maths.

  • Cavehill

    SF and the DUP have a majority in the Assembly, and so Alliance aren’t needed to carry business. That leads me to believe that Alliance would just be walked over in Government like they have for the last 5 years. It would be foolish to walk into Government again and would spell disaster for the party electorally I think.

  • Skibo

    How will SF and DUP work the Justice department? That is the biggest issue if Alliance move to opposition.
    Could they do a joint ministry similar to FM/DFM?

  • Dominic Hendron

    I think it’s about political courage and seeing the bigger picture: a better NI. The SDLP took abuse from SF supporters over the spads issue but it was the right thing to do because it showed that the party was listening to victims. There are bigger things at stake rather than holding the line against the other side. Column Eastwood has said that he wants to see NI work, does Mike Nesbit believe him?

  • Kevin Breslin

    More incentive for better co-operation between the UUP and SDLP in either case.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think Sinn Féin and the DUP would probably do anything they could to avoid the likes of McCann and Allister becoming Justice minister.

  • Kevin Breslin

    If you halved those numbers correctly it wasn’t your maths that was wrong but your knowledge of the d’Hondt mechanism.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Only way that could happen would be to throw the Department of the Executive’s two seats into the mix as well as justice.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Actually the health portfolio was held by the SDLP in the Sunningdale government, then Sinn Féin when power-sharing returned, then by the UUP. All things being fair it’s Alliance’s turn, maybe they could trade Justice for it?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Apart from Richard Boyd Barrett’s failed Taoiseach bid where he was backed by 8 members, when have PBP/AAA/SEA/SWP ever tried to go into government?

  • Cavehill

    If SF and DUP can’t secure a nomination or a way to sort things out then that’s their problem. I don’t think Alliance should be a doormat to prop up a dysfunctional executive.

  • Gingray

    Yup, so it will not happen. Alliance will not have a pick, even if DUP and SDLP stand aside.

  • Gingray

    Indeed, but perhaps the Greens would be a suitable alternative (even just as a threat to wring more compliance from Alliance).

  • So is the party order in the diagram in the post correct?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Yip as of today I recall the UUP trying to recruit McClarty back to get a higher pick last time. Even if the UUP surprised us all and brought back Claire Sudgen in the next week it would not change anything.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Wonder if there will be any SDLP-UUP joint petitions of concern if they go into opposition, just to annoy the big two.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’d say your numbers are right, but technically you should have a proviso that you are rounding the thirds and two thirds to the first decimal place.

  • thx

  • Claire won’t come back to UUP – she holds distinctive positions on some policies. It’s her seat for as long as she continues to work hard and be seen to deliver good input into Assembly and serve constituents well.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Is the Committee picks continued D’hondt?

    DUP- Economy chair
    SF – Education chair
    UUP – Finance chair
    DUP – Justice chair
    SDLP – Executive chair
    SF – Health chair
    DUP – Communities chair
    UUP – Infrastructure chair
    DUP – Rural/Agriculture chair

    SF – Justice vice-chair
    DUP – Health vice-chair
    APNI – Economy vice-chair
    SDLP – Finance vice-chair
    SF – Rural/Agriculture vice chair
    DUP – Education vice chair
    DUP – Communities vice chair.
    UUP – Executive vice chair.
    SF – Infrastructure chair

    Doing my best to keep Ministers having chairs from their party, and chairs having deputy chairs from their party.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Okay, I should’ve said if Claire surprised us all, as well.

    If she defected to Alliance, probably even less likely, then they’d have 2 ministers again.

    Just number playing, it’s not going to happen of course.

  • Gingray

    Oh behave!

  • Skibo

    There will be others in the noisy corner who may be interested in this post but I would be impressed if the two big parties could come up with either a shared ministry or half the time DUP, half the time SF. This will be the next major step for NI to have a SF justice minister.

  • RWP

    Hang on, you’ve included Justice in the list of ministries that can be chosen under d’Hondt, rather than separately allocated to Alliance. Is this correct?

    If this is correct, how does that affect the allocation of the remaining ministries under d’Hondt? Would the SDLP still get a choice, or do they get eliminated?