BBC HOMEPAGE | NEWS | WORLD SERVICE | SPORT | MY BBC low graphics | help
news vote 2001search vote 2001
 You are in: Vote2001: Northern Ireland
VOTE2001 
Main Issues 
Features 
Crucial Seats 
Key People 
Parties 
Results &  Constituencies 
Candidates 
Opinion Polls 
Online 1000 
Virtual Vote 
Talking Point 
Forum 
AudioVideo 
Programmes 
Voting System 
Local Elections 
Nations 

N Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 

BBC News

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

 A/V REPORTS
BBC NI's political correspondent Mark Simpson:
"The overall share of the vote will be a crucial aspect of this election"
 real 28k

Friday, 8 June, 2001, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Turnout higher in NI election

Votes are being counted across NI
Northern Ireland's general election count is under way with the first newly elected MP due to be declared by late afternoon.

The full list of the 18 new MPs for the province is not expected to be known until late on Friday night.

Counting in most constituencies began at lunchtime on Friday, a day after the rest of the UK.

This is because both the Westminster and local government elections were held simultaneously.

In 1997, the turnout was was 67%, but early indications this time suggest it was up to about 72% or 73%.


Both the SDLP and Sinn Fein say they are going to win in West Tyrone so it will be a real nail biting finish

Stephen Grimason BBC NI political editor

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Stephen Grimason said there were two specific battles being fought in the Westminster election in the province.

"The battle within unionism between the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionists can be seen in places like east Londonderry, North Belfast, Strangford and North Down where the Ulster Unionist candidate, Lady Sylvia Hermon, is trying to take the seat from UK Unionist Bob McCartney," he said.


Lady Sylvia Hermon: Indications are that it's a close fight
"Within nationalism the big battle is in West Tyrone.

"Both parties, the SDLP and Sinn Fein are both saying they are going to win it and both seem quietly confident so that will be a real nail biting finish."

Many regard the election in the province as a re-run of the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

The anti-Agreement DUP are set to focus on votes for the pro and anti-Agreement parties with a view to a possible re-negotiation of the historic peace Agreement.

'Higher turnout than usual'

"The DUP will regard this as a re-run of the referendum and they will be counting up all the yes and no votes," said Stephen Grimason.

Pat Doherty
Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty arrives at the Tyrone count
"They say that if they get a big enough vote they could try to re-negotiate the Agreement, but all the other three main parties say no matter what happens there will be re-negotiation.

The number of voters was reported to be higher than usual in the North Down and West Tyrone constituencies.

More than 1,000,000 people were eligible to vote in Northern Ireland, in what was the fifth time the province had gone to the polls in five years.

A total of 100 candidates, including one who is standing in all four Belfast constituencies, contested 18 seats in the general election.

In the council elections, 982 hopefuls were in the running for 582 local council seats.

The counting of the council poll will not start until Monday 11 June, and will not be completed until the following day.

 A/V CONSOLE
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS

Voting system

INTERACT
Find your constituency
Enter post code
  
PARTY WEB LINKS



The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Related stories:

07 Jun 01 |  Northern Ireland
'Steady' polling in NI elections
25 May 01 |  Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland candidates
06 Jun 01 |  Northern Ireland
Last but not least...
07 Jun 01 |  Northern Ireland
NI voters face longer wait
©BBC