DUP Leadership Contest: Arlene’s Ascendancy

As we approach the end of the Robinson era, the runner (s) and riders are now coming to the fore. But before we talk about the candidate, just who can vote in the DUP leadership contest?

The DUP electorate is;

38 MLAs.

8 MPs.


46 in total; remember Gregory Campbell is both an MLA and MP.

As of tonight we have officially nominated as a candidate, Finance Minister, Arlene Foster.


That means of the 46 voters, Arlene has roughly 34 of them in her pocket, which should scare off Sammy Wilson should he want to challenge.

It looks like the DUP will be selecting their first female leader, giving Northern Ireland its first female First Minister and the first to reside West of the Bann.

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  • Pete

    I surely can’t be alone in finding Arlene Foster a pretty average candidate? She seems rather over-rated to me; there is nothing in particular wrong with her of course, but I don’t think she stands out as being exceptional above all other MLAs.

    That said, I’m not sure I can think of anyone better from their Assembly team.

  • chrisjones2

    Valley of the blind stuff isnt it

    Perhaps the overwhelming desire is not to provoke blood letting between the two camps in the DUP. She stayed loyal to Peter when she could easily have shafted him and she wasn’t involved in the internecine warfare with the religious right. And if by remote chance the Shinners should grab FM in June they can ditch her

    But as for her being average, Dear Lord look at the other parties offerings!!!

  • Korhomme

    Hmm, an electoral college comprised only of parliamentarians.

    What could happen if the DUP followed where Labour went, enfranchising the membership?

  • Ernekid

    In the land of mediocrity, the average man is king.

  • Acrobat_747

    Pastor McConnell would end up in charge.

  • Robin Keogh

    46? 46 people choose the leader. Thats it?

  • aquifer

    Lawyers can keep you out of a lot of expensive trouble, and will often split the difference regardless of principle. The DUP are lucky that she jumped ship from the DUP.
    I hope Sammy or Ian Paisley Jnr win and lead them ranting into the political wilderness.

  • Granni Trixie

    Yes, I know I tend to be a conspiracy theorist but…..what if the Doddsey decision is part of the choreography to ensure PR choice of new leader prevails? Waiting until the last minute to declare himself a non runner ineffect put a break on mobilization of a challenge by the DUP extreme wing. Then PR stating that AF had already got three quarters support also suggests PR thought there was likely to be a challenge and he is taking no chances. How on earth though can he be sure of that degree of support?

  • Greenflag 2

    So its over before it begins . That was quick and painless eh ?

  • Pete

    Wouldnt surprise me.

  • Sliothar

    Alex Kane & Nolan were chewing over the speculation that something happened between Sammy W & PR in the recent past as a reason that the Leadership was teased out until Nigel’s declaration as a non-runner.
    They didn’t arrive at any conclusion but could Sammy’s flirtation with Nigel Farage & UKIP have tilted the balance? http://tinyurl.com/nsfnajf

  • ABlivit

    Arlene is the mistress of the condescending sneer. It’s obviously a prerequisite for leadership of the DUP. Sammy on the other hand is intelligent, likeable and calls a spade a spade – that would never do!

  • Granni Trixie

    Ought to add – same people with same methods seem to have managed to close off possibility of new DUP deputy

  • Slater

    Splitting the throne was always going to lead to trouble so one Fermanagh person has yielded to the other, younger, and probably fitter one.
    Uno voce uno duce.
    Dodds has a track record of not sticking things out if you recall his brief tenure at finance.

  • chrisjones2

    Arlene is now “humble” at the acclamation from her colleagues


    “When I was quite a young boy,” he tells David Copperfield, “I got to know what ‘umbleness did, and I took to it. I ate ‘umble pie with an appetite. I stopped at the ‘umble point of my learning, and says I, ‘Hard hard!’ When you offered to teach me Latin, I knew better. ‘People like to be above you,’ says father, ‘keep yourself down.’ I am very ‘umble to the present moment, Master Copperfield, but I’ve got a little power!”

    Uriah Heep
    David Copperfield
    Charles DIckens

  • chrisjones2

    Amazing isn’t it. How many have a vote to elect the Army Council Robin?

  • Old Mortality

    Quite so Ernekid,even though we are speaking of a woman.
    I don’t think SF will be looking forward to her leadership: she’s certainly better educated and probably more intelligent than any of their top team and as a ‘progressive’ party, they will have to be very careful how they go about attacking a woman.

  • Robin Keogh

    I dunno Chris why dont you tell me? You seem to know a lot about it.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The pain will come later………

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Really? “they will have to be very careful how they go about attacking a woman.”

    They seem to have had considerable practice with Senator Máiría Cahill over the past few years…….

  • Mirrorballman

    “as a ‘progressive’ party, they will have to be very careful how they go about attacking a woman.”


  • Pete

    That does annoy me about politics actually. It seems that any criticism of a woman in politics is always falsely branded as being sexist.

  • LordSummerisle

    Hmmm… I thought it was another bonfire on Chobham Street but no it was the white smoke emanating above DUP HQ and wafting across the dreary steeples of Dundela… the news came quickly to Ballymacarrett as a young urchin ran down the Holywood Road and onto the Newtownards Road, “Habemus Papam” was the cry from his mouth… Tis true, tis true…

  • chrisjones2

    Well it’s your party. What the vote based on? Electoral College? PR? Body count? Who has the biggest piece?

  • Old Mortality

    I think they’ve tried to say as little as possible about Ms Cahill.

  • Robin Keogh

    I checked it out for u Chris. Its snow white and tge seven dwarfs

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As a party perhaps, after all their policy on women and vulnerable people would sound hollow if they publicly attacked her as policy. But every party is made up of individuals (does any party exist without the individual contribution of its membership?) and many of these have been showing their loyalty to GA by finding every way that Máiriá can be discredited. They will have a much easier job, (even as a party) with Arlene should she reflect her parties ethos sufficiently to alienate normal British opinion. Peter was careful to keep his thoughts to himself on illiberal matters until what I’d imagine to be his Westminster inspired “handlers” were withdrawn and the “real” Peter suddenly supported the central figure of the McConnell fiasco in a bout of uncharacteristic sincerity. But Arlene has to mark out her ground with the ancient party faithful who swooned at the histrionics of the late Lord Bannside. I fully expect her to offer SF some very illiberal hostages to fortune in cart loads

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Pope Joan?

  • Reader

    Pete: …always falsely branded as being sexist.
    It is of course perfectly fair to criticise women in any line of work in the same way as one could fairly criticise a man.
    However, most below the line criticism of female politicians round here *is* sexist. And half of any praise is patronising.

  • Reader

    But not as you remember them:
    (hopelessly unrealistic, of course. Snow White should have a beard.)