THE European election result means that Alliance will at least be in contention for two Westminster seats, David Ford argues.
The party will have to target its resources where they will have the biggest impact, he says, but, unlike previous General Elections, unofficial tallies of the European election result indicate that the party should be seriously contending for both North Down and East Belfast.
“I think for the first time in several Westminster elections, we’re now seriously in contention in a number of constituencies and that’s a sign of the general upswing in Alliance generally, as much as it is about splits within unionism.
“Based on European results, we are, at the very least, in serious contention in North Down and East Belfast.”
Mr Ford says that he believed the next election will see marked differences, with voters backing politicians who have delivered rather than “flag-wavers”.
Speaking of the 26,699 votes – 5.5 per cent of the total vote – which his party’s candidate, Ian Parsley, received in the European election, Mr Ford says: “I was happy then and looking back I’m still happy now.
“We got our second best ever vote in a European election. Our vote was up compared to the Assembly election two years ago and recent experience has been that we have done significantly worse in European elections than our general run in the polls or in other elections.”