"As the Westminster election approaches, TUV is stepping up its preparations and signalling that among its key targets will be the seat of the First Minister in East Belfast. ... TUV is indicating that in both North Antrim and East Belfast it will be going toe to toe with the DUP in its former heartlands."That does not exclude the possibility of the TUV fighting other seats, but it is unlikely that they would fight any seat where a split unionist vote would almost certainly return a nationalist.
The TUV is thus trying to decapitate the DUP by defeating its present and past leaders. If Ian Paisley senior stands again in North Antrim he would probably win, but the size of the TUV bite into his majority may humiliate him. If he does not stand, then the seat is unpredictable.
East Belfast is likely to be a three horse race. No-one seriously expects the TUV to win it, or even to come close, but by eating into the DUP's majority the TUV could bring the seat into play – if UCUNF ever get their act together and field a reasonable candidate they have a good chance. Even Alliance are talking up their chances – small though they are; coming second in a multi-seat STV election in 2007 does not translate into a similar feat in a single-member FPTP election.