N. Ireland Politics

Northern Ireland council election vote count under way

Counting is under way of votes cast in the Northern Ireland council elections.

With 81 out of 582 seats so far declared, the DUP has 31, Sinn Fein 22, the SDLP nine, UUP seven, Alliance seven and five others.

The first result emerged 45 minutes after counting began. In 2005, the DUP got 30% of the overall vote, Sinn Fein 23%, UUP 18%, SDLP 17% and Alliance 5%.

BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport said the UUP and the SDLP would hope to avoid a repeat of the assembly result.

"In the last council elections the UUP had 18%, but are now on 13%, while the SDLP had 17% but are now on 14% so they could lose out," he said.

"That would breed discontent among people asking if their leaders are taking them in the right direction.

"That said, the single transferable vote system does save people in the later stages so it could be that the damage won't be quite as bad as it was at the assembly."

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