The Constituencies

The 2001 Westminster elections, 1998 Assembly elections, the 1997 Westminster elections and the 1996 Forum elections all used the same basis of 18 constituencies (the local term for electoral districts). In 2001 and 1997, each elected one MP to the UK parliament in Westminster. In 1998, each constituency elected six members to the new Assembly by the Single Transferable Vote. And in 1996, each constituency elected five members of the forum/potential talks delegates from party lists using the d'Hondt formula, and another two forum members/delegates were awarded to each of the top ten parties across Northern Ireland.

Each of these links takes you to a full list of each constituency's election results from 1996, 1997 and 1998. Each page also includes a link to another page with full details of the 1998 counts. (The clickable map above is by Conal Kelly)
Constituency list: East Belfast; North Belfast; South Belfast; West Belfast; East Antrim; North Antrim; South Antrim; North Down; South Down; Fermanagh and South Tyrone; Foyle; Lagan Valley; East Londonderry; Mid Ulster; Newry and Armagh; Strangford; West Tyrone; Upper Bann.

Revision of the constituency boundaries takes place roughly every ten to fifteen years. The 1970 revision of the then twelve Northern Ireland seats was not put in place until after the Westminster election of that year, but those boundaries were used for Westminster elections in 1974 (twice) and 1979, and for elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1973 and 1982 and to the Constitutional Convention in 1975. For the regional bodies each seat elected between four and ten members (depending on the size of the electorate) by Single Transferable Vote.

The next set of revisions gave Northern Ireland 17 parliamentary seats instead of 12 - it had been deliberately under-represented at Westminster during the period of devolved government. These boundaries were put in place after the 1982 Assembly election but before the 1983 Westminster election, and they were used again in the 1987 and 1992 Westminster elections. The last election using any of these boundaries was the 1995 North Down by-election.

The 1983-1995 constituency boundaries are shown above (the clickable map is again by Conal Kelly); results are available for East Belfast, North Belfast, South Belfast, West Belfast, East Antrim, North Antrim, South Antrim, North Down, South Down, Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Foyle, Lagan Valley, East Londonderry, Mid Ulster, Newry and Armagh, Strangford, and Upper Bann

The most recent revisions took place between 1993 and 1995. An initial proposal to keep Northern Ireland at 17 seats but with drastically revised boundaries caused such dismay that instead an 18th seat (West Tyrone) was added and most of the existing seats were changed very little. The new seats were used for the Forum elections of 1996, for the Westminster election of 1997 and for the 1998 Assembly election, and will be used again for the next Westminster election. After that, another revision is due anyway, but if the Labour government has honoured its pledge to hold a referendum on reforming the electoral system, and if that referendum is then passed, the revision could be for quite a different system. See the Jenkins Commission Report for details.

Speculations about the Boundary Commission 2003, and a more detailed history of Westminster elections in Northern Ireland since 1920, are also on this site.  The 1999 European election, like the European elections of 1994, 1989, 1984 and 1979, treated Northern Ireland as a single electoral district returning three members of the European Parliament by Single Transferable Vote. (NB this site now has full details of all counts in both the 1999 and 1994 European elections).

See also: The Boundary Commission's Provisional Recommendations | Boundary Commission 2003 | Jim Riley's analysis of votes and seats in the 1998 Assembly election | Gerrymandering | The constituencies | The political parties | The NI Executive | Useful books and links

Results from 1996 to 2001 for each seat: East Belfast | North Belfast | South Belfast | West Belfast | East Antrim | North Antrim | South Antrim | North Down | South Down | Fermanagh and South Tyrone | Foyle | Lagan Valley | East Londonderry | Mid Ulster | Newry and Armagh | Strangford | West Tyrone | Upper Bann

Surveys of each recent election: 2004 European | 2003 Assembly | 2001 Westminster | 2001 local govt | 2000 S Antrim | 1999 European | 1998 Assembly | 1997 local govt | 1997 Westminster | 1996 Forum | 1995 N Down | 1994 European | 1993 local govt | 1992 Westminster | 1989 European | 1989 local govt | 1987 Westminster | 1986 by-elections | 1985 local govt | 1984 European | 1983 Westminster | 1982 Assembly | 1981 local govt | 1979 European | 1979 Westminster | 1977 local govt | 1975 Convention | Oct 1974 Westminster | Feb 1974 Westminster | 1973 Assembly | 1973 local govt | Summary of all Northern Ireland elections since 1973 | Brief summary of election results 1997-2003

Historical pieces: Westminster elections 1885-1910 | The 1918 election | Dáil elections since 1918 | Westminster elections since 1920 | Senate of Southern Ireland 1921 | Irish Senate elections in 1925 | Northern Ireland House of Commons | Northern Ireland Senate | The 1973 and 1975 referendums

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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Nicholas Whyte, 3 December 2000; revised 31 May 2003.

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Disclaimer:© Nicholas Whyte 1998-2004 Last Updated on Wednesday, 12-Jan-2005 12:12