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Standing for election

To be eligible to stand for future local council elections as a candidate, you must, on the day you are nominated, be:
  • at least 18 years old
  • a British or Irish citizen, or a citizen of another member state of the European Union or the Commonwealth
  • not be disqualified from being a councillor.

In addition, you must fulfill one of the following three conditions:

  • be registered to vote in the district in which you are standing
  • have lived in the area for one year preceding the day of the election
  • have worked in the area for that period.

Pre-election seminars

  • Find out more about our pre-election seminars for candidates to gain essential information on what is required to take part in the elections. 

Who is disqualified?

You cannot stand if you:

  • work for a council
  • hold a politically restricted post for another authority
  • are bankrupt
  • have served a prison sentence of three months or more within five years prior to an election
  • have been disqualified from being elected as a councillor under any legislation.

Getting nominated

The majority of people become councillors as a result of joining a political party. However, some people stand as independents (candidates who do not belong to any political party) or as pressure groups.

If you are thinking of standing as a candidate for a particular political party, then you will need to be a member of that party's local organisation. 

For details on political parties, visit the Northern Ireland register of political parties on the Electoral Commission website.

On 26 March we will publish the 'Notice of Election'. This details:

  • the date and time of the election
  • electoral areas
  • the number of councillors to be elected
  • the timetable for submitting nomination papers.

People who want to stand as a candidate in the election must read the Local Government Elections 2019 – Guide for Candidates and Agents (PDF-288KB) and return the completed nomination forms to the Deputy Returning Officer during the nomination period, from Wednesday 27 March until 1pm on Monday 8 April.

For information on candidate spending, visit the Electoral Commission for guidance, and download the Royal Mail for guidance on candidate mailing (PDF- 311KB).

You can also download a timetable for the 2 May 2019 Local Government Election. (PDF - 224KB)

What support will I get if I am elected?

As a new councillor, you will be invited to take part in an induction programme, introducing you to the workings of the council. Training for councillors continues throughout their term on a variety of topics.

The professional officers working at the council are available to assist you, for example, by providing advice about council procedures or problems in your area.

As all officers must be politically impartial, they cannot assist in any matter that could be seen as supporting a political party or pressure group.

Will I be paid?

There are two types of allowances for councillors:

  • a basic allowance which is paid to all councillors
  • a special responsibility allowance which is paid to councillors who carry out special duties such as being the chair of a committee or a party group leader.