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NORTHERN IRISH PARTY LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS 1995-2016

 

Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI)
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
Social Democratic & Labour Party (SDLP)
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)

 

Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APNI) 1998-2016

1998 5 September
Séan Neeson Declared leader after being only candidate to be nominated
     
     
     
2001 6 October
Party council ballot Votes %
David Ford 86 65.6
Eileen Bell 45 34.4
     
     
     
2016 26 October
Party council ballot Votes %
Naomi Long n/a n/a

 

Notes
2001: Ballot of senior activists at party council meeting
2016: Long elected by party council of approximately 250 delegates after being only candidate to be nominated. No figures released.

Sources:
C. Murphy, ‘Neeson poised to lead Alliance Party’, Irish Times, 25 August 1998; S. Breen, ‘Ford wins Alliance leadership’, Irish Times, 8 October 2001; BBC, 'Naomi Long officially becomes Alliance Party leader', BBC News, 26 October 2016.



Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) 2008-2015

2008 31 May
Peter Robinson Declared leader after being only candidate to be nominated
   
   
   
2015 17 December
Arlene Foster Declared leader after being only candidate to be nominated

 

Notes:
2008: Robinson was unanimously nominated by the 36-strong DUP grouping in the Northern Ireland assembly. His nomination was unanimously ratified by the party’s 120-member executive committee. These decisions were taken on 14 and 17 April 2008 respectively but Robinson did not formally become leader until Ian Paisley stepped down on 31 May 2008.
2015: Foster was elected by the DUP's MPs and assembly members and their decision was ratified by a meeting of the 90-member executive.


Sources: BBC, ‘Robinson to follow Paisley path’, BBC News, 14 April 2008; ‘Robinson confirmed as DUP leader’, BBC News, 17 April 2008; 'Arlene Foster becomes Northern Ireland's first female DUP leader', Belfast Telegraph, 17 December 2015.



Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 2001-2015

2001 11 November        
Mark Durkan Declared leader after being only candidate to be nominated
             
             
             
2010 7 February        
Conference ballot Votes %        
Margaret Ritchie 222 54.3        
Alasdair McDonnell 187 45.7        
             
             
             
2011 5 November        
Conference ballot First count Second count Third count
  Votes % Votes % Votes %
Alasdair McDonnell 127 36.5 140 40.3 188 55.3
Conall McDevitt 105 30.2 131 37.8 152 44.7
Patsy McGlone 70 20.1 76 21.9 - -
Alex Attwood 46 13.2 - - - -
Non-transferable - - 1 (0.3) 8 (2.3)
             
             
             
2015 15 November        
Conference ballot Votes %        
Colom Eastwood 172 56.4        
Alasdair McDonnell* 133 43.6        

 

Notes: Ballot of delegates at annual conference using alternative-vote system.
* Incumbent leader

Sources: T. Judd, ‘Durkan and Rodgers take over leadership of SDLP’, Independent, 12 November 2001; D. Keenan, ‘Ritchie beats McDonnell to take leadership of SDLP’, Irish Times, 8 February 2010; M. Fealty, ‘And the new SDLP leader is... Alasdair McDonnell!’, Slugger O’Toole, 5 November.

 



Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) 1995-2012

1995 18 March        
UU Council ballot Votes %        
James Molyneaux * 521 85.6        
Lee Reynolds 88 14.4        
             
             
             
1995 8 September        
UU Council ballot First round Second round Third round
  Votes % Votes % Votes %
David Trimble 287 35.6 353 43.6 466 58.3
John Taylor 226 28.0 255 31.5 333 41.7
Ken Maginnis 117 14.5 110 13.6 - -
William Ross 116 14.4 91 11.2 - -
Martin Smyth 60 7.4 - - - -
             
             
             
2005 24 June        
UU Council ballot First round Second round    
  Votes % Votes %    
Reg Empey 295 48.0 321 52.8    
Alan McFarland 266 43.3 287 47.2    
David McNarry 54 8.9 - -    
             
             
             
2010 22 September        
All-member ballot Votes %        
Tom Elliott 643 68.6        
Basil McCrea 294 31.4        
Turnout: 45%            
             
             
             
2012 31 March        
All-member ballot Votes %        
Mike Nesbitt 536 80.6        
John McCallister 129 19.4        
             

 

Notes
1995-2005: Ballots of delegates at meeting of ruling executive, Ulster Unionist Council, using eliminative-vote system. Council included delegates from all parliamentary constituencies and affiliated bodies, including the Orange Order and Young Unionists.
March 1995: There were ten spoilt ballots.
September 1995: Maginnis withdrew after the second round of voting.
2005: A total of 618 delegates attended the meeting out of a possible 769 entitled to attend and vote. There was one spoilt ballot.
2010: All-member ballot at special party meeting in Belfast. Turnout figure based on stated eligible voting membership of 2,100.
2012: Ballot of paid-up party members attending UUP's AGM in Belfast.
* Incumbent


Sources: D. Godson, Himself Alone: David Trimble and the Ordeal of Unionism (London: HarperCollins, 2004), pp. 127, 151-2; BBC, ‘UUP contest goes to second count’, BBC News, 24 June 2005; ‘Empey new Ulster Unionist leader’, BBC News, 24 June 2005; D. Rusk, ‘Elliott elected new UU leader’, Irish News, 23 September 2010; 'Mike Nesbitt is new Ulster Unionist leader', BBC News, 31 March 2012.


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