Your MLAs, Your Constituency
Modern democracy is about representation.
We elect Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
There are 90 MLAs, 5 from each of the 18 constituencies. As elected representatives, MLAs have the right, or mandate, to represent the views of their constituents when carrying out their work of making laws and holding Ministers on the Executive Committee to account for their running of Government Departments. The allocation of Ministerial positions is based on how many MLAs are elected from each party. The more seats a party wins, the more Ministers it has around the Executive table and the greater its power to shape policy, legislation and decisions. So, although the voters do not directly choose ministers, they do determine which parties make up the Executive.
MLAs have offices in their constituency, so that they can meet with constituents to hear their views on issues or provide advice to help them resolve problems.
There have been 7 elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The last election took place on 5 May 2022. The previous election was held on 2 March 2017. MLAs are normally elected for a 5 year term but, due to a falling out between the 2 main political parties, the DUP and Sinn Féin, the 'snap' election was called by the UK Government's Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
In the May 2022 election, Sinn Féin (SF) and Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) emerged as the two largest parties in the Assembly, with the SF winning 27 of the 90 seats available and DUP 25 seats. The Alliance Party became the third largest party winning 17 seats. Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) took 9 seats the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), 8, People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA) won 1 seat and the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) retained its 1 seat and two independent candidate was elected.
You can use this resource to analyse the performance of the political parties in the last two Assembly elections and to view the MLAs currently elected in each constituency.
Q. Who are the MLAs representing your constituency? Do people in your constituency have a good choice of MLAs to engage with? What issues do you think your MLAs should be concerned about in your constituency?