More than 100 candidates to contest 18 Westminster seats

More than 100 candidates will content the 18 Westminster seats for Northern Ireland.''Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye
More than 100 candidates will content the 18 Westminster seats for Northern Ireland.''Picture: Jonathan Porter/PressEye
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A total of 102 candidates will contest 18 constituencies across Northern Ireland at this year’s General Election.

Nominations closed on Thursday ahead of next month’s polling day.Alliance is the only political party that is running candidates in all 18 constituencies.

Following a unionist co operation in two constituencies as well as pro-remain agreements, the other major parties will not contest every seat in the December 12 poll.

The Democratic Unionist Party is running in 17 constituencies, standing aside in Fermanagh South Tyrone in support of Ulster Unionist candidate Tom Elliott.

Sinn Fein is running in 15 constituencies, and will not run candidates in South Belfast, East Belfast or North Down in an effort to loan support to other candidates who take the pro-remain position in the Brexit argument.

The Ulster Unionist Party will run candidates in 16 constituencies. UUP leader Steve Aiken had previously suggested the party would run in all of the region’s 18 constituencies.

He later rowed back from that position following pressure in North Belfast and from unionist rivals over standing a candidate against Democratic Unionist deputy leader Nigel Dodds, who is expected to face a tight race against Sinn Fein’s John Finucane.

The other constituency in which the UUP will not run is West Belfast, a seat which has traditionally been dominated by Sinn Fein with only a small unionist vote.

Mr Aiken also came under pressure for his party to stand aside in South Belfast where the DUP’s Emma Little Pengelly is expected to come under pressure from SDLP candidate Claire Hanna.

The Green Party has stepped aside in South Belfast for Ms Hanna as a remain candidate in the Brexit debate.

Meanwhile, the SDLP is stepping aside in three constituencies in support of other remain candidates. Those are North Belfast, East Belfast and North Down.

The Green Party is stepping aside in East, West and North Belfast in support of remain candidates. It will run in three constituencies.

Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) is not running any candidates in this election.

Of the other parties, People Before Profit is running two candidates, the NI Conservative Party is contesting four seats, Aontu will stand candidates in seven constituencies and UKIP - Unionists for Brexit is standing in two constituencies.

There are also three independent candidates.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said she believes it will be a “close election”.

The deadline for registering to vote is November 26, while postal or proxy vote applications must be submitted by November 21.