Northern Ireland will have to wait another day for the final results of the Assembly election after Sinn Fein topped the poll with a 29% first preference vote share and is on course to become the largest party at Stormont.
Four constituencies have concluded their counts. They are: Newry and Armagh, East Antrim, South Antrim and Lagan Valley. The other counts will continue from 9am on Saturday.
Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald and vice-president Michelle O’Neill arrived amid a media scrum at the Belfast count centre earlier. Ms O’Neill topped the poll in Mid-Ulster.
The DUP received 21.3% share of the first preference vote – a drop of 7% since the last Assembly election in 2017.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was elected in Lagan Valley, alongside former First Minister Paul Givan, while Alliance leader Naomi Long topped the poll in East Belfast on what was a good day for her party.
Alliance increased its share of first preference votes by over 4% to 13.5% to become the third largest party. The TUV sees the biggest swing since 2017, at +5%, after attracting 7.7% of first preference votes.
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Among those who are left to sweat are Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie and Green Party NI’s Clare Bailey, who are under pressure to retain their seats.
Among the most high profile eliminations so far are the DUP’s Peter Weir in Strangford, UUP stalwart Roy Beggs in East Antrim and the SDLP’s Dolores Kelly in Upper Bann and Pat Catney in Lagan Valley.
How the day unfolded:
Parliamentary reports show first speaker only - follow this lnk for the full transcription.
Articles may come from parliamentary reports, various public news feeds and Google News Search. Content is republished here for context. Copyright is respected and remains with the original author at all times. Original Article:https://m.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/northern-ireland-assembly-election-2022/northern-ireland-election-results-sinn-fein-tops-first-preference-votes-as-counts-to-continue-on-saturday-as-it-happened-41620203.html