Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Assembly Election 2016 - Results, counts and state of the parties: DUP retain 38 MLAs while Sinn Fein and SDLP lose seats

It was a nail-biting finish - but after two days of counting all of Northern Ireland's fifth Assembly MLAs have been declared.

It was a tremendous effort from Arlene Foster's party which defied predictions of losing seats to retain 38 MLAs.

Elsewhere Sinn Fein won 28 seats, down one, Ulster Unionists no movement on 16 seats, the SDLP 12 - down two - and Alliance eight, again no change.

Hundreds of thousands of votes were counted across Northern Ireland on Friday and Saturday.

The last constituency to complete counting was Upper Bann.

Losing her seat to Sinn Fein - Dolores Kelly of the SDLP said: "There's more to life. Politics is a tough game."

Official figures have revealed the overall number of voters polled was 703,744 which is a turnout of 54.91%.

That was down slightly on the 55.64% of 2011, however, more people voted this time around but the eligible electorate was larger.

Overall 276 candidates stood in the 18 constituencies.

The DUP secured 202,567 first preference votes; Sinn Fein 166,785; UUP 87,302; SDLP 83,364; Alliance 48,447.

The five main parties' vote share all decreased, with Sinn Fein seeing the biggest loss at 2.9% while the DUP's was 0.8%.

Ahead of Saturday's counting DUP leader Arlene Foster was confident of returning to her office in the new mandate.

"I am confident that I will be the first minister of Northern Ireland," she said after topping the poll in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

Below is how the two days' of counting unfolded.

 

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