At stake in this election:
- 108 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly
Description of government structure:
- Chief of State: Queen ELIZABETH II
- Head of Government: Prime Minister Anthony (Tony) BLAIR
- Assembly: Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) has a unicameral Northern Ireland Assembly with 108 seats.
Description of electoral system:
- The Queen is hereditary head of state.
- In the Northern Ireland Assembly 108 members are elected by proportional representation to serve 5-year terms.***
*** Six representatives are elected in each of the region's 18 constituencies.
Main parties in the electoral race:
- Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
- Leader: Ian PAISLEY
- Seats won in last election: 20
- Sinn Féin
- Leader: Gerry ADAMS
- Seats won in last election: 18
- Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
- Leader: David TRIMBLE
- Seats won in last election: 28
- Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP)
- Leader: Mark DURKAN
- Seats won in last election: 24
- Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
- Leader: David FORD
- Seats won in last election: 6
- Progressive Unionist Party (PUP)
- Leader: David ERVINE
- Seats won in last election: 2
- UK Unionist Party (UKUP)
- Leader: Robert McCARTNEY
- Seats won in last election: 5
- Seats won in last election: 0
Last parliamentary election:
- The last Northern Ireland Assembly elections, the first of thier kind, were held on June 25, 1998.
- The current elections were originally scheduled for May 2003, but were delayed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The Assembly had been suspended since October 2002 and would remain suspended until May 2007 (after new elections in March 2007).
Population and voter registration:
- Population: 1,702,628 (2003)
- Registered Voters: 1,097,526 (2003)