It will be a case of ‘women-on-top’, ‘keep it in the family’ and ‘youth will rise again’ all at once at the Alliance Party AGM this weekend. Women are set to take three of the top positions in the party, a husband-and-wife team become senior party officers, and youth wing members take a quarter of the seats on the Party Executive.
Alliance Leader on Belfast City Council, Naomi Long MLA, is the only declared candidate for the position of Deputy Leader. The 34-year-old civil engineer has put her name forward to replace party stalwart Eileen Bell, who is stepping down after five years in post. She join by a new Party President, Castlereagh Councillor Geraldine Rice, and Party Chair Yvonne Boyle from Coleraine, who are automatically elected as the only nominees for their respective positions. It is the first time women have held all three positions.
Castlereagh Councillor Michael Long, Naomi’s husband, will join her wife at the top table as the only nominee to the position of Vice Chair. The party’s tradition is to rotate the Chair and Vice Chair every two years. The husband-and-wife team have vowed to challenge ‘sterile nationalistic politics’ and push for a ‘transformation’ of the Northern Ireland political scene.
The AGM takes place at the Billy Neill Soccer Centre, between Castlereagh and Dundonald, from 10.00am on Saturday, 18 February.