Ulster to go to polls next May

ELECTIONS to local councils across Northern Ireland will be held on May 5, 2011, the same day as election to the Assembly.

Northern Ireland Office Minister of State Hugo Swire has announced that he intends to bring forward legislation to hold the next district council elections in Northern Ireland on May 5 2011.

It is likely that a referendum on the Alternative Vote system will also be held on this date if legislation currently before Parliament providing for this is passed.

Mr Swire said holding both elections on the same day will lead to financial savings.

"I appreciate that this will present unique logistical challenges. However, I am satisfied that the practical risks can be managed and my officials will liaise closely with the Chief Electoral Officer and the Electoral Commission to ensure the identification and early resolution

of any potential problems," he said.

Elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly and local elections in Northern Ireland are held every four years on the first Thursday in May.

The Postponement of Local Elections (Northern Ireland) Order 2009 postponed the local elections due to take place in Northern Ireland in 2009 until 2011.