App links voters to possible parties

Election Diary 2014
Election Diary 2014

A Queen’s University academic has helped set up an online application which aims to match European election voters to parties which share their beliefs.

Dr John Garry was part of the team behind the application.

However, the website only matches individuals to the five parties in the Stormont Executive.

Dr Garry accepted that was a “limitation” of the initiative which was as a result of limited resources. But he said it was not necessarily unfair to smaller parties as “many users of the app may well come out as quite distant from all five main parties. An implication of this might be, ‘I should vote for some party other than the five main ones’ – hence prompting an investigation of UKIP, Green, TUV etc.”

Torrent situation not like Euro poll: DUP

The DUP has said that no comparison can be drawn between a council election where the party says there is no chance of splitting the unionist vote and the EU election, where the party has warned that the pro-Union vote risks being “shredded”.

Yesterday, the News Letter highlighted DUP minister Simon Hamilton’s comment that his party’s decision to stand a candidate in the Torrent area of Dungannon posed no risk to the chance of returning a unionist councillor.

Yesterday, DUP chief whip Peter Weir said the two situations were “wholly different”. He said: “There are fundamental differences between Torrent and the EU poll. Torrent has two unionists and the EU poll has six.

“In Torrent Keith Buchanan (DUP) has been encouraging his voters to give their second preference to the other unionist candidate. In the EU poll unionists are attacking unionists and creating bitterness. This bitterness will lead, as was the case in 2009, to thousands of non-transferable votes.”

He added: “The unionist vote is being shredded too many ways in the EU poll.”

But TUV leader and European candidate Jim Allister said: “Mr Hamilton’s comments have exposed the central DUP theme of this campaign as nonsense. Unionists should, as Simon Hamilton says, vote for their unionist of choice and then transfer to other pro-Union candidates. That way the unionist vote is maximised rather than diminished.”