Northern Ireland Assembly Elections 2022

The 2022 election to Northern Ireland's Assembly was held on 5 May 2022. It was the seventh election to take place since the devolved assembly was established in 1998. The Sixth Assembly had experienced a difficult tenure, taking almost three years to form an Executive after the election. The Executive lasted just over two years, collapsing on the resignation of First Minister Paul Givan on February 3 2022, in protest over the Northern Ireland Protocol. Calls by the DUP and Sinn Fein to bring the election forward were rejected by the Secretary of State and attempts to revive the Executive were unsuccessful.

The Results

90 members were elected to the Assembly; each of the existing 18 parliamentary constituencies in Northern Ireland elected five members of the new body by the Single Transferable Vote. Turnout for the election was recorded at 63.6% with 873,787 votes cast. Of these, 862,223 (98.7%) were deemed valid and 11,084 (1.3%) invalid.

Distribution of seats
Party / Candidate 1st Pref Votes 1st Pref % (+/-) Seats (+/-)
Sinn F�in 250,388 29.0% (+1.1%) 27 seats -
Democratic Unionist Party 184,002 21.3% (-6.8%) 25 seats (-3)
Alliance Party 116,681 13.5% (+4.4%) 17 seats (+9)
Ulster Unionist Party 96,390 11.2% (-1.7%) 9 seats (-1)
Social Democratic & Labour Party 78,237 9.1% (-2.8%) 8 seats (-4)
Traditional Unionist Voice 65,788 7.6% (+5.0%) 1 seat -
Green Party 16,433 1.9% (-0.4%)
Aont� 12,777 1.5% (+1.5%)
People Before Profit Alliance 9,798 1.1% (-0.7%) 1 seat -
Alex Easton (North Down) 9,568 1.1% (+0.2%) 1 seat (+1)
Claire Sugden (East Londonderry) 3,981 0.5% (-0.1%) 1 seat -
Gavin Malone (Newry & Armagh) 3,157 0.4%

Progressive Unionist Party 2,665 0.3% (-0.4%)

Irish Republican Socialist Party 1,869 0.2%

Paul Gallagher (West Tyrone) 1,682 0.2%

Stephanie Quigley (East Londonderry) 1,503 0.2%

Patrick Haughey (Mid Ulster) 877 0.1%

Anne McCloskey (Foyle) 854 0.1%

Workers Party 839 0.1% (-0.2%)

Gary Hynds (Lagan Valley) 735 0.1%

Cross-Community Labour Alternative 602 0.1% (-0.4%)

Ray McKimm (North Down) 604 0.1%

Socialist Party 524 0.1%

Stafford Ward (Belfast North) 489 0.1%

Andrew Moran (South Antrim) 262 0.03%

Conservatives 254 0.03% -

Emma DeSouza (Fermanagh & South Tyrone) 249 0.03%

Gerard Burns (Belfast West) 192 0.02%

Niall Murphy (East Londonderry) 181 0.02%

Patrick Clarke (South Down) 134 0.02% -

Tony Mallon (Belfast West) 129 0.01%

Heritage 128 0.01%

Derek Backhouse (Fermanagh & South Tyrone) 128 0.01%

Barry Brown (West Tyrone) 119 0.01%

Ben King (Strangford) 118 0.01%

Elly Odhiambo (Belfast South) 107 0.01%

Billy Stewart (East Londonderry) 82 0.01%

Chris Carter (North Down) 72 0.01%

Laird Shingleton (North Antrim) 66 0.01%

Declan Hill (Belfast West) 26 0.003%

Resume 13 0.002%

The basis for comparison in the above table is the change in vote for candidates with the same party label from 2017. Note the comparison for successful independent candidate Alex Easton, is his first preference vote as a DUP candidate in 2017.

Constituency Summary

The first image below shows the geographical distribution of seats won by each party in the election. It is worth noting that the constituency boundaries did not change between this election and the 2017 Assembly election, providing a good opportunity for comparison and analysis. If and when the next Assembly election occurs, it is very likely that there will be considerable change to the existing boundaries. The Boundary Commission has begun its seventh periodical review and is due to deliver its final recommendations no later than 1 July 2023.

The graphical representation below shows the geographical distribution of seats by party in the election.


Map by Conal Kelly

East Belfast 2 Alliance, 2 DUP, 1 UUP
North Belfast 2 SF, 2 DUP, 1 Alliance
South Belfast 2 Alliance, 1 SF, 1 SDLP, 1 DUP
West Belfast 4 SF, 1 PBP
East Antrim 2 DUP, 2 Alliance, 1 UUP
North Antrim 1 DUP, 1 TUV, 1 UUP, 1 SF, 1 Alliance
South Antrim 2 DUP, 1 SF, 1 UUP, 1 Alliance
North Down 2 Alliance, 1 Ind U, 1 DUP, 1 UUP
South Down 2 SF, 1 SDLP, 1 DUP, 1 Alliance
Fermanagh and South Tyrone 3 SF, 1 DUP, 1 UUP
Foyle 2 SF, 2 SDLP, 1 DUP
Lagan Valley 2 DUP, 2 Alliance, 1 UUP
East Londonderry 2 DUP, 1 SF, 1 Ind U, 1 SDLP
Mid Ulster 3 SF, 1 DUP, 1 SDLP
Newry and Armagh 3 SF, 1 DUP, 1 SDLP
Strangford 2 DUP, 2 Alliance, 1 UUP
West Tyrone 3 SF, 1 DUP, 1 SDLP
Upper Bann 2 DUP, 1 SF, 1 UUP, 1 Alliance

The map below shows the party with the largest first preference vote in each constituency. It is important to note that extrapolating first preferences in an PR-STV election to project winners in an FPTP election can be particularly challenging given the significant potential for tactical voting.


Map by Conal Kelly


In summary it was a very good day for Alliance, good for SF, bad for SDLP, DUP, UUP and Greens. Calculating total vote tallies between the sides is complicated by minor parties and candidates, but the headline is that Unionists and Nationalists are not far apart. I had previously said that if Nationalists outnumber Unionists at a Stormont election, there are grounds for the Secretary of State to call a border poll. That threshold is not clearly met in terms of votes, and clearly not met in terms of seats won.

Ten seats changed hands in the election. Alliance gained nine - four from the SDLP, two each from the DUP and Greens and one from the UUP; and the DUP lost another seat in North Down where a former party colleague retained his seat as an independent.

SF did not gain or lose any seats, but became the largest party as the DUP tally fell. They missed out on two potential gains by poor balancing of their candidates, in East Londonderry and Upper Bann, and the UUP might also have had a chance of retaining both seats in East Antrim with better balancing.

The closest result was in Foyle, where the DUP survived a UUP challenge by 95 votes. That's on the final count; the closest decisive elimination was in East Londonderry, where Alliance candidate was eliminated 15 votes behind the SDLP and his transfers then elected her.

For the TUV to get only one seat despite vote share of 7.6% is remarkable - proportionally that should have given them at least six! But they had great difficulty in attracting transfers. Conversely the DUP's total of 25, while disappointing for the party, is about six more than would be proportionally expected from a 21.3% vote share.

The turnout of 63.6% was down slightly (-1.2%) compared to 2017 but was still the third highest since the Assembly was established in 1998.


The closest results of the election were:

Comparison with Previous Elections

You can also readily compare the results from this election with those of previous Assembly elections located elsewhere on this site, including: the 2017 elections, the 2016 elections, the 2011 elections, the 2007 elections, the 2003 elections and the 1998 elections. The results of the 1996 Forum Elections are also available. This graph below visually contrasts the 2022 Assembly election result with the six previous elections to the Assembly, the Forum in 1996, the Assembly in 1982, the Constitutional Convention in 1975 and the Assembly in 1973.


Other sites based at ARK: ORB (Online Research Bank) | CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) | Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey

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Last updated by Conal Kelly, 7 May 2022.

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Disclaimer:� Nicholas Whyte 1998-2004 Last Updated on Sunday, 06-Mar-2011 19:41