Final Assembly make-up still unclear due to delays

Mr Hay said that after the election, a system must be put in place to get quicker results.

The full picture of the new Northern Ireland Assembly will not emerge until Saturday due to delays in the election count.

Outgoing Assembly Speaker Willie Hay of the DUP was among several politicians who strongly criticised the system for counting votes.

The first results came after ten hours of counting.

The final make-up of the new Assembly will not be known until the count is completed on Saturday.

In Newry and Armagh, Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy topped the poll and the SDLP's Dominic Bradley and Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy have also been elected.

Mr Murphy received 9,127 first preference votes, Mr Kennedy 8,718 and Mr Bradley 7,123.

In Upper Bann, Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd has been elected with 6,649 first preference votes.

Gregory Campbell of the DUP was re-elected for East Londonderry on the first count.

Edwin Poots of the DUP and the UUP's Basil McCrea were elected in Lagan Valley on the first count.

In South Down, the SDLP's Margaret Ritchie was re-elected on the first count.

William Hay, DUP, and Martina Anderson, Sinn Fein, were elected on the first count in Foyle.

Chief Electoral Officer Graham Shields has defended the slow pace of counting saying it was important to be 'accurate'

In South Antrim, the DUP's Paul Girvan and Trevor Clarke and Mitchel McLaughlin of Sinn Fein reached the quota on the first count.

In Strangford, the DUP's Michelle McIlveen and Jonathan Bell and the Alliance's Kieran McCarthy were elected on the first count.

Anna Lo of the Alliance Party was re-elected after topping the poll in South Belfast.

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly and the DUP's Nelson McCausland were elected on the first count in North Belfast.

In North Down, Alex Easton of the DUP was elected on the first count.

DUP leader Peter Robinson topped the poll and was re-elected in East Belfast.

Sinn Fein's Paul Maskey and Jennifer McCann were elected on the first count in West Belfast.

However, the outlook for the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists is less certain with some candidates struggling to hang on to their seats.

Official figures showed the turnout percentage to be well down on previous polls.

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