Wednesday 26 July 2017

General Election 2017: The key Northern Ireland battlegrounds and expected result times

Stay with Independent.ie for the results as they happen through the night

Alliance candidate for West Belfast Sorcha Eastwood casts her vote in the 2017 General Election, with her husband, Dale Shirlow, at a polling station in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, still wearing her wedding dress after they were married earlier in the day. Photo credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Alliance candidate for West Belfast Sorcha Eastwood casts her vote in the 2017 General Election, with her husband, Dale Shirlow, at a polling station in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, still wearing her wedding dress after they were married earlier in the day. Photo credit: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Northern Ireland is in the throes of yet another vote, the seventh in the past three years. Here we look at some of the key battlegrounds in Northern Ireland.

The result of a joint BBC, ITV and Sky exit poll will be released at 10pm - as soon as polling stations close. The survey will be taken from 144 polling stations across Britain, asking voters at these stations to mark a mock ballot paper to show how they have voted. Similar exit polls have correctly predicted who would take the keys to Number 10 in the last five elections, and in 2005 and 2010 came extremely close to predicting the exact number of seats.

Results to watch for (timings approximate):

1.30am: North Belfast: DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds is expected to hold on, but could face a stiff challenge from new Sinn Fein candidate, John Finucane.  South Belfast: The SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell received the lowest share of the vote of any MP in the last general election and is very vulnerable in this four-way fight also involving Alliance, the DUP and Sinn Fein.

2am: The East Belfast tussle between Alliance leader Naomi Long and the DUP's Gavin Robinson has been too close to call. Long took the seat from previous DUP leader Peter Robinson in 2010, but she lost it to Gavin Robinson five years later.  The Foyle result should be in around the same time. Sinn Fein overtook the SDLP here for the first time in the 2017 Assembly election, and pundits will be watching for evidence of unionists voting tactically for Mark Durkan.

2.15am: The UUP's Danny Kinahan could be pushed out by the DUP's Paul Girvan. The seat has flipped between the two parties in the past, but the Ulster Unionists are desperate to hold the seat, one of only two they have.

3.30am: South Down: Sinn Fein overtook the SDLP here in the Assembly election, but the SDLP's Margaret Ritchie can count on unionist tactical votes to help her. But will it be enough?

5am: Fermanagh & South Tyrone: Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew is hoping to win back the seat from the UUP's Tom Elliott in this knife-edge vote. While unionists have united behind the agreed candidate, republicans have thrown everything into winning the seat back.

The final seats should be declared just before lunchtime on Friday.

 

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