There are many other parties in Northern Ireland. Most of them are officially "Other" but some are either Nationalist or Unionist but are simply very small compared to the other parties we've looked at so far.
Other parties have taken 78,041 votes in the last election, and this is the "Other vote" I will be looking at today.
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
APNI, or "the Alliance" was founded in 1970 as an alternative to the various Unionist and Nationalist parties that existed. The original aim of the party was to serve as a bridge between Catholic and Protestant, and the party had success across Northern Ireland, in both Protestant and Catholic areas. It was one of the first parties to expressly support the idea that Northern Ireland should be in whatever country that its voters want it to be in.
In 1973 the party managed to win 13.6% of the vote in the local elections across Northern Ireland, finishing second in popular vote, winning seats on 20 of the 26 councils. In the 1977 local elections the party would take 14.4% of the vote.
The Alliance would begin to decline as Sinn Fein entered the scene and politics became more polarized. Over the 1980's the Alliance became less of a voice for Catholics and more of a voice for Protestants who wanted a far more moderate tone. The Alliance strongly supported the peace talks that lead to the Good Friday agreement, and have been a consistent presence since elections began to the assembly in it's current form in 1998.
The modern party is a very small l liberal party, especially in the more progressive traditions that we think of here in Canada.
The Alliance managed 62.1% of the Other vote.
officially a branch of the Irish Green Party, the party maintains links to Greens elsewhere in the UK. Officially "Other" the party takes a neutral stance, saying that until a majority wants NI to join Ireland, it should remain in the UK.
The party's history can be traced back to 1981 under the name of the Ecology Party. In 1983, the NI party as well as the UK and Irish parties, met in Belfast to present a unified policy on Northern Ireland. In 2006, the Greens in NI officially affiliated with the Irish party.
The Greens managed 24.0% of the Other vote
Prior to 1922, the party was allied to the Irish Conservative Party, which itself merged into the Irish Unionist Party.
Between 1922 and 1972, the Ulster Unionist Party operated as the NI Conservatives, the local branch of the party.
In the late 1980's the party started to organize in the region, and did well in the 1989 council election in North Down; the area in and around Bangor.
North Down has always been the 'odd one out' often electing independents to Westminster, and others (UKUP, NIWC) to Stormont.
The party took 3.3% of the Other vote.
The only other party to receive more than 2,000 votes has since been de-registered, the combined vote of all other parties is 8,322, or 10.7% of the Other vote.
Lastly, are the Independents. This group managed 22,650 votes,