Election Successes in the Celtic Countries

Sinn Féin
A major success was Sinn Féin’s achievement in the Stormont Local Assembly in the North of Ireland, becoming the largest party in the Assembly. Under the system agreed in the Peace Process the nationalist or unionist party leader with the most seats becomes the First Minister. This will be the first time a nationalist has achieved this. The Alliance Party made major gains, but this does not affect the system in place. The result is a significant loss for Jeffrey Donaldson leader of the DUP, which has lost its position as the biggest party for the first time since 2003.

Sinn Féin won 27 seats while the DUP has 25, the Alliance Party 17, the Ulster Unionists (UUP) nine and the SDLP eight, with four others elected.

Sinn Féin leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill said “Irrespective of religious, political or social backgrounds my commitment is to make politics work.” While Sinn Fein President, Mary Lou McDonald stressed that “Collectively we have an obligation to get government up and running”

The focus now is on Jeffrey Donaldson, who could reject the Deputy First Minister position and power sharing and has indicated he will be attempting to get the Northern Ireland Protocol ( which emerged from the UK Brexit negotiations with the EU) removed or radically changed. The DUP has claimed that this has detrimentally affected the position of Northern Ireland as part of the UK.

SNP
The SNP finished as the biggest party in the Scottish council elections – with Labour coming second after the Conservatives suffered big losses. The SNP recorded strong results in many areas of the country, increasing its total number of councillors by 22 to 453. The party has gained seats and has won an 11th successive national victory. Overall, the SNP finished with 34.1 per cent of the vote, Labour on 21.7, the Tories on 19.6, Independents on 9.9, Lib Dems on 8.6, and the Greens on 6 per cent.

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP Leader said ( referring to the other parties) “They’ll want to find scraps of comfort on this, but the SNP has won this election overwhelmingly and I’m not going to let anybody take away from the achievement of councillors, activists and supporters across the country – it’s a fantastic result for the SNP.”

PLAID CYMRU
In the Welsh council elections while Labour have gained the most seats, Plaid Cymru took control of three councils. The Conservatives lost control of their only council in Wales, after Labour became the biggest party in Monmouthshire retaining control of southeast Wales. Plaid Cymru gained Anglesey where they have taken overall control. They also gained Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion and retained control of Gwynedd which they won outright in 2017. This gives Plaid control of the whole of western Wales, except Pembrokeshire (often referred to as ‘Little England beyond Wales’).

Note: No elections were held in Kernow. Cornwall Council held its elections last year. The next elections will not be held until 2024. Conservatives control Cornwall Council with 47 of the 87 seats (but with only 37% of the votes). Mebyon Kernow have 5 seats.

Posted by Celtic League (8 May 2022)

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