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Ukip still in the running in East Antrim count

Published 06/05/2016

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Latest news from Northern Ireland

As the first day of counting drew to a close in East Antrim, only three of the six Assembly seats were filled, with Ukip still in the mix.

The DUP's David Hilditch was the only candidate to reach the quota after the first count. At 5,906 votes he received 1,275 more votes than the quota in round one.

The majority of his surplus votes (852) transferred to fellow DUP candidate Gordon Lyons, who was eventually elected in stage eight.

Gordon Lyons who ran in 2011 but failed to win a seat, was co-opted into the Assembly to take Sammy Wilson's place in 2015.

Mr Lyons was elected in stage eight alongside UUP candidate Roy Beggs who has successfully contested every election for the Assembly since 1998. His first preference vote was 3,848, up from 3,042 in the 2011 elections.

The DUP now hope they can retain all three seats. As voting finished on Friday, the only DUP candidate remaining was Alastair Ross, who is sitting on 2,883 votes.

He is lagging behind the Alliance Party's Stewart Dickson (3,778), Sinn Fein's Oliver McMullan (3,282) and Ukip's Noel Jordan (2,929). Mr Jordan won 3,660 votes in last year's Westminster election and it would be quite a feat if he was elected in East Antrim.

The DUP's David Hilditch said: "On the doorsteps, health and education have been very important and I would hope everyone who is returned will make these a priority.

"I expect a number of twists and turns to come and even though Ukip haven't polled as well as they thought, they are still in there. There are four or five people fighting for two seats."

The turnout, at 32,744, was 51.01%, up on the 2011 turnout of 47.76%.

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