The issues on which SF and DUP are poles apart
After the election, a new Executive must be formed within weeks or another poll or crisis talks will be triggered.
These are some of the issues polarising the DUP and Sinn Fein:
• An Irish Language Act: Despite only a minority of the population speaking Irish as their main language, the law is a touchstone equality issue for Sinn Fein. It was repeatedly dismissed by the DUP during 10 years of power-sharing.
• Dealing with the legacy of unresolved Troubles killings: Thousands of murders from the 30-year conflict were due to be investigated as part of the Stormont House Agreement. But little progress has been made, with nationalists accusing the Government of being transparent. Unionists doubt republicans will be candid about their role too.
• Stormont restructuring: The DUP might now push for a voluntary system of government at Stormont to replace the mandatory power-sharing coalition. However, nationalists are wedded to this.
• Gay marriage: The DUP has repeatedly vetoed efforts to legalise gay marriage in Northern Ireland - despite a majority of MLAs backing it.