Northern Ireland election draws to a close with the DUP's Arlene Foster set to stay on as first minister

 
Jessica Morris
Follow Jessica
DUP Annual Conference 2015
Foster said she was "delighted" with the results so far (Source: Getty)

The Northern Ireland Assembly election is drawing to a close, with nearly all of the seats filled.

Votes started kicked off at 9am this morning, with Northern Ireland initially having gone to the polls two days ago.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is set to hold onto its crown as the biggest party, with Arlene Foster staying on as first minister.

The DUP currently has 38 seats, while Sinn Féin has 26, the Ulster Unionists 15, SDLP 12 and the Alliance Party eight. It leaves three unfilled seats in Upper Bann.

Read more: Northern Ireland election results - the seats are starting to fill up...

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

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

Two candidates — Gerry Carroll and Eamonn McCann — from the left-wing, anti-austerity People Before Profit party were elected to the assembly for the first time.

"We fought this election on the basis of being neither orange nor green," Mr McCann said.

Read more: We need to talk about Northern Ireland

"All of our canvassers, every evening, had a simple instruction - when anybody opens the door to them they were to say 'we our from People Before Profit, we are neither orange nor green, will you give us your vote?'"

"That was the opening statement. We found that that resonated right across, even with people who weren't going to vote for us I think were pleased that we said it and remembered us in their preferences. I think that was very important."

The Northern Ireland Assembly has a proportional representation voting system, compared to first past the post which was used during last year's General Election.

According to the BBC, the election had a 52.8 per cent turnout.

Related articles