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Northern Ireland election results: Sinn Fein becomes largest party at Stormont with 27 seats - as it happened

  • Sinn Fein confirmed as largest party in historic vote
  • Big wins for Alliance in fight for fifth seat across NI - up 9 seats on 2017
  • Blows for Nichola Mallon (SDLP) in North Belfast, Mervyn Storey (DUP) in North Antrim and Green Party leader Clare Bailey in South Belfast
  • Jim Allister remains sole TUV voice at Stormont

Sinn Fein has become the largest party in Northern Ireland after winning 27 seats at the Assembly election - the first nationalist party to ever do so.

Until today, a unionist party had always been the largest party in the Assembly since the formation of Northern Ireland in 1921.

Sinn Fein is now able to nominate Michelle O'Neill as First Minister - if an agreement can be reached to re-form a power-sharing executive.

"I look forward to Michelle O'Neill being nominated as First Minister to lead from the front", Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald said.

It comes after the DUP's vote share dropped and returned xx MLAs, while the Alliance Party made significant gains to become the third largest party, with 17 MLAs.

Speaking at the count at the Titanic Exhibition Centre earlier, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said unionism “has held its ground”. Asked whether Northern Ireland will have devolved government this year, he said: “Let’s cross all the bridges when we get to them.”

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The SDLP has suffered big losses and lost some high-profile MLAs, including its deputy leader Nichola Mallon. There was no ‘Beattie bounce’ for the Ulster Unionists on 11% — a two percentage points fall. Winning an 8% vote, the TUV almost trebled its 2017 performance but leader Jim Allister remains its sole MLA.

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Here's how the day unfolded:


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