Charting the Assembly election candidates

Following on the nominations announcement, we now know that Belfast East will have 17 candidates listed on its long ballot paper. Belfast South and Belfast West are next largest with 14 candidates each. South Antrim will have the shortest ballot papers with only 10 candidates listed.

Newbie Oldhand candidate ratio in 2011 Assembly election

Just five constituencies have all six “sitting” MLAs standing again for re-election – Belfast North/South/West, Newry and Armagh, and South Antrim. Four constituencies have just four of their existing MLAs fighting to be elected.

As Stratagem point out

The only constituency in which all six MLAs elected in 2007 are running again in the 2011 Assembly Elections is Newry & Armagh

Number of parties standing in each constituency along with number of independents in 2011 Assembly election

In terms of party diversity, Belfast East has 11 distinct parties standing along with two independents. Similarly, Belfast South has 11 parties … but no independents. No constituencies have more than two independents on the ballot paper. West Tyrone and Foyle both have just candidates from five parties standing, and both have two independents on the ballot paper too.

Number of candidates per party (split by gender) at 2011 Assembly elections

The DUP are running the most candidates (44), with Sinn Fein (40) not far behind. The UUP (29) and SDLP (28) are neck and neck. Alliance are running 22.

Chart showing how many candidates from each party are running in each constituency in the 2011 Assembly election

In the chart above you can see how many candidates each party is running in each constituency.

Candidate gender ratio in 2011 Assembly election

Gender wise, Newry and Armagh has no female candidates. Five constituencies only offer one female candidate. Belfast East, South Down and Upper Bann have four female candidates on the ballot paper.

Percentage of female candidates for parties in 2011 Assembly election

Technically, the BNP are running the highest proportion of female candidates (1 out of their total of 3 candidates = 33.3%). Alliance are next with 31.8% female candidates, then Sinn Fein (27.5%). Of the other main parties, the DUP is a mere 15.9%, SDLP at 14.3% and UUP lagging at 10.3%.

Let me know if there are any mistakes …

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  • Reader

    While there are many fish to fry here, the first thing I noticed is that the three socialist parties are not running any female candidates at all. The second thing is that there are three socialist parties instead of one.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    I believe that only two of the TUV’s 12 candidates are women, so their percentage is actually 16.7%

    The gender split in real terms:

    SF   11 women [out of 40]
    Alliance   7/22
    DUP   7/44
    SDLP   4/28
    UUP   3/29
    TUV   2/12
    BNP   1/3
    UKIP   1/6
    Green   1/6
    Independent   1/15

    Procapitalism   0/1
    PUP   0/1
    SP   0/3
    PB4P   0/4
    WP   0/4

  • Scáth Shéamais – thanks. Mel Lucas had slipped over the gender divide. Fixing the graphs now. Good thing is that we agree on the other numbers.

  • Are we approaching the time when we should have a graph on ethnicity? Seems to me that AP (2) and SDLP (1) should be congratulated on crossing that hurdle.
    And the council nominations should be even more interesting.

  • Ethnicity is even more troublesome than gender to assume from the nomination details.

  • Indeed…… but surely as relevant as gender.
    Hannah Chu, Magdalena Wolkska and Anna Lo.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    The three of them only represent 1.4% of all candidates though.

  • Indeed but in the case of Alliance thats about 9%.
    In case of SDLP its 3.5%.
    And in the case of the others……..

    If a case is to be made that women are 51% of population and a chart produced to show under representation…..then it follows that in our modern society we should show how parties are integrating or not integrating our welcome newcomers.
    If the number of Assembly candidates is too small we can always look forward to Council candidates being scrutinised.

  • FJH – it’s troublesome because if you go by name alone, you may under report. And people define themselves very individually. But you’re completely right that in general, candidates are very indigenous.

  • Reader,

    “The second thing is that there are three socialist parties instead of one.”

    If you look at it more broadly, there is really an over representation of the left. The SDLP, Sinn Fein and the PUP can all be regarded as being on the left.

    I appreciate that there is hardly any daylight between the policies of the DUP and the UUP but the latter have kept their left wing politicians in the mix.

    I dont know much about the Alliance candidates yet. Naomi Long, who certainly is on the left, is not standing this time around.

    I wonder how long it will be before the UK Labour Party takes part in Northern Ireland elections?

    Still, not enough people in NI seem to want to come out of their communal comfort zone just yet so I think the results will be very similar to 2007.

  • The candidates are very indigenous.
    But surely the point is that some parties have attracted more newcomers while others are still very much “ourselves alone”.
    Theres surely a story to be told in why newcomers are joining “our” political parties and in disproportionate numbers in some parties like Alliance and SDLP.
    I fully take the point that names alone are but a rough guide.
    There are other categories….age profile….which cant be readily done from names.
    But if we can only do analysis on some areas…..should we bother at all?
    Statistically some candidates must have a disability…..again in many cases a personal matter.
    Or statisticallly some must be gay but so far as Im aware no declared Assemly runner has openly stated it.
    Do I really need to know? No

  • granni trixie

    Very impressed that you have got this together Alan (being technically challenged myself).

    I do think however that it would be useful to find a way of assessing if the areas women are standing in (local gov and Assmbley) are win or no win as this is significant in terms of are the parties seriously inclusive or just in need of “anybody”. Also,arent 1in 4 people supposed to have a disability? So it would be good to know to what extent they are represented. I think myself that the lack of people with disabilities in politics reflects the fact that there is a derth of leadership by people with disabilities in NI generally. (think Monica Wilson, who else can you think of). I know that some people theorise that the dominance of Troubles issues have held back the development of Leadership by women and disabled people.

    As regards ‘newcomers’. It wont just happen this centuary unless parties are proactive. For instance, in SB branch of APNI,noting that our area had so many ethnic monorities, we asked along Anna Lo from Chinese Welfare Assoc. to talk to us about the obstacles to participation and about her organization. She gave a very informative talk. That started our relatrionship with her. The rest is history. May I also say how much I have gained from listening to newcomers in our party. Just last week canvassing with a Nigerian man I learnt about how he deals with racism….he laughs it off. And he is so charming and intelligent I believe even a hardened racist would be impressed. Even when I was walking down the road with him a man stopped on his bicycle to glare at him before saying something rude.

  • YelloSmurf

    Granny Trixie, regarding disability, I know that David Murphy, Alliance’s candidate in Newry and Armagh, has Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD. I can’t think of many others.

  • granni trixie

    Actually I have long identified from typical symptoms that many people in active politics have these conditions. I mentioned this to a few people and they immediatly knew who I meant. A positve in my book but it is still generally the case that there is not sufficient diversity in political
    representations. .

  • Granni Trixie,

    > I do think however that it would be useful to find a way of assessing if the areas women are standing in (local gov and Assmbley) are win or no win as this is significant in terms of are the parties seriously inclusive or just in need of “anybody”.

    The joy of my spreadsheet is that it’ll be easy to figure this out once the results are in.