SDLP leadership Conference: What to expect

The SDLP will meet in Armagh this weekend to elect a new leadership team. This brings to an end one of the quietest leadership contests in our history.

The conference will have roughly 315 voting delegates and assuming the all turn up, that means the winning post will be 158+.

What’s interesting though is that since 2010 there has been a decline in the number of voting delegates at the party conference. In the 2010 leadership election between Alasdair McDonnell and Margaret Ritchie, 409 delegates could vote for the leadership. By 2011, that had fallen to 348 and now in 2015 this stands at 315. (Note: some of this is due to the reorganization of local government which has resulted in fewer local councilors.)

Polls open at 4:30pm tomorrow afternoon and close at 1opm that evening. Voting opens again at 9:30am on Saturday and closes at 4pm.

The result will be declared at 5pm.

Outside of the leadership, the conference will continue as usual with the sitting Deputy Leader, Dolores Kelly speaking on Friday evening and the party leader, Alasdair McDonnell giving his speech at noon on Saturday. This will be interesting to gauge how the audience react to his speech.


There will be some periscopes from the party on Friday and Saturday. Plus Alan and myself will be tweeting away.

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs