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Last Updated: Friday, 28 November, 2003, 12:58 GMT
NI election casualties
Monica McWilliams, Joe Hendron and Billy Hutchinson failed to get re-elected
Not returned: Monica McWilliams, Joe Hendron and Billy Hutchinson
Some of the best known faces of Northern Ireland politics will not be returning to the benches of Stormont when a new assembly is established.

The "voters' axe" fell on several well-known figures in the election poll, with the smaller parties also suffering badly.

Former West Belfast SDLP MP Joe Hendron failed to secure a seat in the constituency.

The GP, an outgoing MLA, polled 2,583 votes. Party chairman Alex Attwood gained a seat in the constituency after being elected on the fifth count.

In Newry and Armagh, SDLP candidate John Fee failed to gain a seat for the party, polling 3,410 votes. Party colleague Dominic Bradley was elected in the constituency on the fifth count, having polled 4,111 first preference votes.

The party's former junior minister Denis Haughey failed to get re-elected in Mid-Ulster and outgoing SDLP MLA Joe Byrne failed to get returned in West Tyrone.

In South Down, the SDLP's Eamonn O'Neill failed to get re-elected, as did Sinn Fein's Gerry McHugh in Fermanagh South-Tyrone.

The Northern Ireland Unionist Party (NIUP) failed to have former MLA and party leader Cedric Wilson returned. He polled just 576 votes in Strangford.

I am very disturbed at the loss of the smaller parties
Seamus Mallon
SDLP, former deputy first minister

Independent candidate Roger Hutchinson, a former member of the DUP and NIUP, failed to be re-elected in Antrim East, polling 1,011 votes.

In Lagan Valley, former Ulster Unionist Party chief whip Ivan Davis was eliminated on the fifth count.

Mr Davis, a former MLA, was not chosen by the UUP as a candidate and stood as an independent.

One of the two Progressive Unionist Party former MLAs, Billy Hutchinson, failed to get re-elected in North Belfast.

Independent candidates

Former Belfast deputy lord mayor Frank McCoubrey was eliminated in North Belfast on the 9th count, having polled 469 first preference votes. A member of the now defunct Ulster Democratic Party, he was standing as an independent.

Former MLA Dennis Watson was eliminated on the sixth count in Upper Bann. Mr Watson, the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, was standing for the DUP and polled 1,770 first preference votes.

As for the Alliance Party, we are in a situation where we will survive this election. Clearly the vote is down across Northern Ireland
Stephen Farry
Alliance Party

While, Independent candidate Dr Kieran Deeny topped the poll in West Tyrone, the smaller parties and other independent candidates fared less well.

The Women's Coalition's lost its two assembly seats. In North Down, former MLA Jane Morrice was eliminated and Monica McWilliams failed to regain her seat in South Belfast.

Former SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon said he was "very disturbed at the loss of the smaller parties".

"The Agreement should have opened up a political pluralism in Northern Ireland, which would have been new.

"On the one hand you have political pluralism that we all want to see. Now we have got a political fundamentalism in terms of both the vote for Sinn Fein and for the DUP."

Billy Hutchinson failed to get re-elected in North Belfast
Billy Hutchinson failed to get re-elected in North Belfast

Stephen Farry of the Alliance Party, which also suffered a drop in vote, said the Agreement has "institutionalised a process" which benefited the strongest party within each block.

"There is a very serious question as to whether the political process can work without a strong centre," he said.

"As for the Alliance Party, we are in a situation where we will survive this election. Clearly the vote is down across Northern Ireland."





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