Northern Ireland Election 2016

NI Assembly election: DUP remains largest as assembly count ends

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Media captionAll 108 seats have now been declared in the Northern Ireland Assembly Election

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) remains the largest in Northern Ireland after all 108 seats in the assembly were filled.

Their leader, Arlene Foster, will continue as first minister. The final count in Upper Bann ended on Saturday afternoon.

Northern Ireland Assembly election results

The DUP has 38 seats, while Sinn Féin has 28, the Ulster Unionists 16, SDLP 12 and the Alliance Party eight.

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Image caption Arlene Foster's DUP has performed well after she topped the Fermanagh and South Tyrone poll

The Greens and People Before Profit Alliance have two seats each. The TUV leader Jim Allister remains its sole representative.

In terms of the last assembly, the DUP holds the same number of seats and Sinn Féin has dropped one seat.

It has been a difficult election for both the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP.

In the end, the Ulster Unionists ended up with the same number of seats as before, but the SDLP lost two seats, one in Foyle and the other, after a marathon counting session, was Dolores Kelly's seat in Upper Bann.

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Image caption People Before Profit's Gerry Carroll celebrates topping the poll in West Belfast

DUP leader Mrs Foster said: "I'm absolutely delighted with the mandate that my party has been given to drive forward Northern Ireland into the future."

"Of course, people have spoken and they have spoken very clearly."

Looking at the Sinn Féin strategy in this election, Gerry Kelly said: "I think what we will do is take it constituency by constituency and look at vote management and all of the rest of it. I think, to a great extent, that the vote management wasn't that bad."

Moments from count centres across Northern Ireland

He said his party knew that Gerry Carroll of People Before Profit would take the seat in West Belfast.

"We agree with what a lot of what People Before Profit say. There are some things we disagree with. We said we would work with them in the south and we will certainly work with them in the north."

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said his party's campaign had been neither a success, nor a failure. He said the party would return 16 seats, the same as in 2011, but signalled a "change of personnel".

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Media captionUUP leader Mike Nesbitt admits he was 'over-ambitious' with envelope prediction

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said his party had been left with "a lot of work to do".

"All of us need to learn lessons that Stormont is not delivering and people are not happy about that," he said.

"We've had a rough couple of years, we've begun to change the face of the party and we're going to build from here."

BBC's Ireland Correspondent Chris Buckler's view of the future assembly

Alliance Party leader David Ford said his party had had a "safe enough election compared to other parties" and he was now concerned about shaping a programme for government that's "inclusive and will promote the needs of all people in Northern Ireland".

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Image caption Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness topped the poll in his home constituency of Foyle

Gerry Carroll won People Before Profit's first ever assembly seat in West Belfast at the expense of Sinn Féin.

Anti-austerity party picks up seats

He was followed by his colleague and veteran civil rights campaigner Eamonn McCann who took a seat from the SDLP in Foyle to secure his place at Stormont.

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Image caption Jim Allister, pictured with his wife Ruth, was the first MLA elected in North Antrim

Martin McGuinness topped the poll for Sinn Féin in Foyle, and was elected along with SDLP leader Colum Eastwood.

The DUP's Frank McCoubrey came within 89 votes of winning a first unionist seat in West Belfast since the 2003 election, but he just lost out to Alex Attwood of the SDLP.

Jim Allister retained his North Antrim seat for the Traditional Unionist Voice and Claire Bailey secured one for the Green Party in South Belfast.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt came out on top in the Strangford poll.

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Image caption SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and Eamonn McCann of the People Before Profit Alliance were elected in Foyle

But he said his pre-election prediction of the number of seats his party would win had been "ambitious".

Naomi Long will return to Stormont for the Alliance Party, winning in East Belfast a year after she lost her Westminster seat to the DUP in the same constituency.

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Image caption Eleven of Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies were fully declared after Friday's counts

Passing the 30 seats mark is significant for the DUP as it allows the party to deploy a petition of concern in the assembly, which effectively acts as a veto against proposals that its MLAs oppose.

But it lost a seat to Jenny Palmer, one of its former councillors who left the party last year after claiming she had been bullied. She was elected for the Ulster Unionists in Lagan Valley.

West Tyrone declared its first seat on Saturday - the SDLP's Daniel McCrossan - after the eighth count.

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Image caption The SDLP's Claire Hanna won a seat in South Belfast at the expense of her party's deputy leader Fearghal McKinney

Several MLAs from the previous assembly will not be returning to Stormont, with the independent John McCallister, the DUP's Ian McCrea and Phil Flanagan of Sinn Féin among the most high-profile figures to lose their seats.

Two hundred and seventy-six candidates stood in Thursday's election, with 108 seats in Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies up for grabs.

In all, 703,744 people voted, and the turnout of 54.91% was down slightly from the figure of 55.64% in the 2011 assembly election.

MLAs are elected using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system, a form of proportional representation, and about 2,000 count staff have been working at eight centres across Northern Ireland.

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