Progress for the Left in Assembly Elections
Left political groupings received a general rise in support in the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly election.
The four Workers’ Party candidates standing in 2016 received a combined total of 1,565 first preference votes. This is a significant rise on the 1,155 its four candidates received in 2011. The party received its highest first preference vote with 532 for Conor Campbell in West Belfast but in Mid-Ulster Hugh Scullion ended on a total of 1,779 votes before being eliminated on the 7th count.
Labour Left Alternative candidates including Courtney Robinson with 517 first preference votes in East Belfast and Sean Burns with 871 in South Belfast, were more successful than Socialist Party candidates in the 2011 elections.
The People Before Profit Alliance experienced an electoral breakthrough winning two Assembly seats, Gerry Carroll (pictured above with Eamon McCann) topping the poll in West Belfast in the process, and receiving 1,286 first preference votes in North Belfast.
Members of the British Labour Party also stood under the Northern Ireland Labour Representation Committee title. The group’s eight candidates received a total first preference vote of 1,577.
The emergence of an opposition at Stormont following the election was welcomed by the Workers’ Party in a statement that said the move “has the potential to normalise politics in Northern Ireland. However, it will be meaningless unless it challenges the DUP and Sinn Fein’s position on the major democratic, social, economic and political issues which are holding back progress in Northern Ireland and which are consigning us to be an 19th century society.”
The party went on to call the opposition to support policies including the creation of an integrated, secular education system and legislation to secure a woman’s right to choose.