Remain reaffirmed: the 2019 European election in Northern Ireland
Irish Political Studies
With echoes of the dividing lines of the United Kingdom's 2016 referendum, a majority of voters in Northern Ireland supported pro-Remain candidates in the 2019 European Parliament election. However, whereas the results in many parts of the UK reflected a highly polarised electorate, voters in Northern Ireland appeared more receptive to compromise: a majority of their newly elected MEPs expressed support for the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the UK government with the EU -the only
... -the only constituency in the UK where this was the case. The comfortable re-election of Diane Dodds and Martina Anderson affirmed the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin as the dominant unionist and nationalist parties respectively. However, a surge in support for the Alliance Party, which saw Naomi Long win a seat at the expense of the Ulster Unionist Party, marked a notable shift towards the ethno-national centre-ground: one in five first preference votes went to a candidate aligned with neither nationalism nor unionism. This report contextualises the election campaign and considers the implications of the results.