Assembly Election

Just one of 18 final assembly seats taken by a smaller party

Eamonn McCann claimed the last seat in Foyle for People Before Profit. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

JUST one of the final seats in the Northern Ireland's assembly six-seat constituencies - created to help smaller parties - was taken by a member of a non-executive party.

Eamonn McCann claimed the last seat in Foyle for People Before Profit.

All other final places across the other 17 constituencies were filled by candidates representing the Executive parties - the DUP, Sinn Féin, UUP, SDLP and Alliance.

When the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, one of the reasons that the number of MLAs was set at 108 was to help smaller parties across the north to gain representation at Stormont.

It was expected that candidates from smaller parties would take the final seats in the 18 (six-seat) constituencies across the north.

The DUP, Sinn Féin and the SDLP each filled five of the remaining seats.

The UUP and Alliance also took one each of the last places on offer.

However, there will be even less seats to go around the next time an assembly election is held in Northern Ireland.

A smaller Stormont is on the cards - with only five MLAs from each constituency compared to the present six - at the next election in 2021.

Under the 'Fresh Start' deal, the total number of MLAs reduces from 108 to 90 with the number of Stormont departments cut from 12 to nine.

The Northern Ireland assembly, which represents 1.8 million people, is much larger than other devolved institutions in the UK.

In Scotland’s Parliament, there are 129 members representing 5.3 million people, while in the Welsh Assembly there are 60 members representing 3.1 million people.

Assembly Election

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