Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Rescheduled Election Preview: Dunoon

First an apology for the lack of updates since the election ended, but I moved house on May 4th and have only just about settled in now to the point I can start working on this again.  I'm aiming to have election results online by the end of next week, then summary blogs and an analysis of my predictions up shortly after.  Someone remind me never to move house near an election ever again...

Tomorrow, voters in Dunoon go to the polls to elect three councillors to Argyll and Bute Council.  The election, originally to have been held last week along with the rest of the Scottish local elections, was delayed by the untimely death of SNP candidate Alister MacAlister just after the close of nominations.

The rules that apply to such cases require councils to suspend the elections in the ward the deceased candidate had been contesting and post a new Notice of Election.  However, this Notice of Election only calls for the party who had fielded the deceased candidate to nominate a replacement candidate.  Other candidates may choose to withdraw at this time, but only one new candidate can be nominated (in this case by the SNP).

The SNP took the decision not to nominate a new candidate in place of Alister MacAlister, but all the other previously nominated candidates remained in the contest including the other SNP candidate.  The full list of candidates are:

Party Candidate
SNP Michael Breslin
Conservative William Green
Independent Jimmy McQueen
Lib Dems Tony Miles
Labour Mick Rice
Independent Dick Walsh

Looking to the long term effects of this election, a new administration has already been formed for Argyll and Bute Council composed of the SNP and Independents.  Even if neither group won no seats in Dunoon tomorrow, this coalition would still have a majority of 14, so there is no chance of changing the overall outcome of the council-wide election.  The composition of the council after last week's election is:

 Argyll and Bute Council
Lib Dems4

The SNP and each of the independent candidates are defending seats in this ward.  Labour need to win a seat here to gain a voice on the council as they failed to elect candidates in any other wards last week.  The Lib Dems and Conservatives are already guaranteed to make up the opposition, but each will also be hoping to bolster their numbers.  Based on the 2007 results though, three holds seem a fairly safe bet:

Party Candidate 1st Prefs Vote Share Elected?
Independent Dick Walsh 855 24.6% Yes
SNP Alister MacAlister 821 22.6% Yes
Independent Jimmy McQueen 754 21.7% Yes
Labour David Graham 358 10.3%
Lib Dems Tony Miles 257 7.4%
Conservative Sandy MacPherson 239 6.9%
Independent Gordon McKinven 193 5.6%

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