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Monday 30 January 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images
# Elections
Polls open across UK for local elections and electoral referendum
Elections will be held in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England but the main talking point is a referendum on reforming the UK parliamentary voting system.

VOTERS ACROSS THE UK are going to the polls today in a series of national and local elections as well voting in a referendum to decide how to elect MPs to the Westminster parliament in London.

In Northern Ireland, voters will elect the fourth Assembly since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. There are 218 candidates standing for election across the country’s 18 six-seat constituencies.

RTÉ News reports that the Democratic Unionist Party looks set to be the largest party with Sinn Féin also expected to do well. Local council elections are also taking place today as they are in the mainland UK.

In Scotland and Wales, voters will decide the composition of their parliament and assembly respectively.

But the main talking point, is the referendum on voting reform that is being voted on across the UK.

The poll is asking voters to decide whether they want to maintain the current first past the post electoral system.

Under the current system, voters mark an ‘X’ beside the candidate they want to elect or switch to the alternative vote system (AV) whereby candidates are ranked in order of preference and the candidate who gains over 50 per cent of the vote is elected to Westminster.

Poll indicate that the proposal to switch to AV will be soundly defeated. Today’s Guardian/ICM poll finds 68 per cent of people plant to vote no to reform. A low turnout is expected.

Read our guide to the UK electoral referendum >