Assembly election 2016: DUP confident of topping polls in South and East Antrim

The DUP’s David Hilditch looks likely to top the poll in East Antrim, with his party colleague Paul Girvan looking good to take the most first preference votes in South Antrim.

In East Antrim the UUP’s Roy Beggs also appears to have polled well and could be close to making the quota on the first count.

According to one DUP supporter, “it could be as we were at the end of the day”, with three DUP, one UUP, one Alliance and one Sinn Fein MLA. However, there is a long way to go yet.

In South Antrim the DUP are confident that they can retain the three seats they won in 2011, but that could depend on where transfers go after the first couple of counts.

UUP newcomer Steve Aiken, a former Royal Navy submarine commander, seems likely to win a seat, but party sources say things aren’t looking so good for outgoing MLA Adrian Cochrane-Watson.

Sinn Fein’s Declan Kearney seems likely to retain the seat vacated by party colleague Mitchel McLaughlin, while Alliance’s David Ford and SDLP’s Roisin Lynch have also polled well.

Counting of first preference votes is well under way at the Valley Leisure Centre, with the first results due at around lunchtime.

Voter turnout in both constituencies is up slightly from the last Assembly election in 2011.

The figures show a 51.01 per cent turnout in both South Antrim and East Antrim. Those figures are up slightly from five years ago, when the turnout was 47.75 per cent in East Antrim and 50.07 per cent in South Antrim.

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