11Electoral region vacanciesE+W+S+N.I.
(1)This section applies if the seat of an Assembly regional member returned for an Assembly electoral region is vacant.
(2)If the Assembly regional member was returned (under section 9 or this section) from the list of a registered political party, the regional returning officer must notify to the Presiding Officer the name of the person who is to fill the vacancy.
(3)A person's name may only be so notified if the person—
(a)is included on the list submitted by the registered political party for the last general election,
(b)is willing to serve as an Assembly regional member for the Assembly electoral region, and
(c)is not a person to whom subsection (4) applies.
(4)This subsection applies to a person if—
(a)the person is not a member of the registered political party, and
(b)the registered political party gives notice to the regional returning officer that the person's name is not to be notified to the Presiding Officer as the name of the person who is to fill the vacancy.
(5)But if there is more than one person who satisfies the conditions in subsection (3), the regional returning officer may only notify the name of whichever of them was the higher, or the highest, on that list.
(6)A person whose name is notified under subsection (2) is to be treated as having been declared to be returned as an Assembly regional member for the Assembly electoral region on the day on which notification of the person's name is received by the Presiding Officer.
(7)The seat remains vacant until the next general election—
(a)if the Assembly regional member was returned as an individual candidate, or
(b)if that Assembly regional member was returned from the list of a registered political party but there is no-one who satisfies the conditions in subsection (3).
(8)For the purposes of this section, a person included on the list submitted by a registered political party for the last general election who—
(a)was returned as an Assembly regional member under section 9 at that election (even if the return was void),
(b)has subsequently been a candidate in an election held under section 10 (whether or not returned), or
(c)has subsequently been returned under this section (even if the return was void),
is treated on and after the return of the person, or of the successful candidate at the election, as not having been included on the list.
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