NI election: Robinson dedicates DUP win to Ronan kerr

DUP leader Peter Robinson Mr Robinson's party fared better at the polls than at the 2007 assembly election

Democratic Unionist leader Peter Robinson has dedicated his party's win in the NI Assembly election to murdered Catholic police officer Ronan Kerr.

The DUP and Sinn Fein won the most seats with 38 and 29 respectively.

Mr Robinson said the results proved people wanted peace and Constable Kerr's murder achieved nothing.

The Ulster Unionists won 16 seats, the SDLP 14, Alliance eight, Greens one and TUV one. David McClarty was the sole independent elected.

The result means the DUP and Sinn Fein retain their positions as the two major parties in the NI Assembly.

Following the last count in his east Belfast constituency, Peter Robinson dedicated his win to PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr, who was murdered by dissident republicans in Omagh last month.

"He wanted to serve his community," Mr Robinson said.

"And in the words of his mother, she wanted to ensure that people would come out and support the way forward peacefully in Northern Ireland."

The DUP went up two from their 2007 performance while Sinn Fein picked up one seat from four years ago.

The final outcome for the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP was more disappointing, with both dropping two seats.

The DUP performed strongly in North Down, winning three seats in a constituency where it had no MLAs ten years ago.

It also picked up four seats in Lagan Valley, up from three in 2007.

Mr Robinson also polled strongly, bouncing back from losing his Westminster seat last year.

He said: "It is very pleasing and rewarding to hear that right across the province our candidates are doing so well because they put a lot of work into it.

"We didn't ask for a mandate from the people to enhance the standing of the Democratic Unionist Party, we asked for a mandate to keep Northern Ireland moving forward."

Sinn Fein has won three seats in Fermanagh-South Tyrone and also picked up its first seat in East Antrim.

However, it did not balance its vote as well as it had hoped in Upper Bann and Mid-Ulster.

Speaking at his election count in Ballymena, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said that he wanted to see "more realism" from the UUP and SDLP.

"I would like to see those parties as well as the Alliance Party working in the spirit of co-operation," he said.

"If Peter Robinson and I can work together, then surely all of those parties can work with us."

Jim Allister and Martin McGuinness Jim Allister of the Traditional Unionist Voice and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein have arrived at their count centres in Ballymena

The Ulster Unionists' deputy leader John McCallister prevailed in a battle to retain his seat in South Down.

UUP veteran Fred Cobain lost his fight to retain his North Belfast seat but David McNarry clung on in Strangford.

There was also better news for the Ulster Unionists in South Belfast where Michael McGimpsey was elected on the fifth count and in Upper Bann with Jo-Anne Dobson winning in a count which went on until 0300 BST on Saturday morning.

The party also gained a seat in West Tyrone, with Ross Hussey elected on the fifth count.

UUP leader Tom Elliott has said he will be looking at his party's internal structures.

"Obviously there are issues around how candidates are selected and how internal officers are appointed," he said.

Former UUP MLA David McClarty, who fell out with the party over its selection procedures, was elected as an independent in East Londonderry.

The SDLP has lost seats in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, South Antrim and North Antrim but made a gain in West Tyrone.

It hung on to its second seat in South Belfast, with Conall McDevitt winning without reaching the quota.

It has produced its traditional strong performance in Foyle, where it won three seats.

It was also aiming for a seat in Strangford but ultimately fell short.

The party's successful candidate in Upper Bann, Dolores Kelly, has said that "overall, the party is somewhat disappointed" and said there would be areas it would need to look at over the next four years.

The Alliance Party gained a seat in East Belfast but missed out on another potential gain in North Down.

"Our vote appears to be up in every constituency if you allow for boundary changes," Alliance leader David Ford said.

"I think that's a sign of growth in our vote, growth in party support generally and its translating into a couple of extra seats."

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister won a seat in North Antrim.

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

Mr Allister pledged to be a "thorn in the flesh" of Sinn Fein and the DUP at Stormont.

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

There has been criticism of the speed of the count which finished at 2200 BST on the second day.

The chief electoral officer Graham Shields said single-transferable vote elections normally last over two days.

"Yesterday, we were dealing with three electoral processes for the first time ever in Northern Ireland," he said.

Northern Ireland collectively voted no in the UK-wide Alternative Vote referendum.

372,706 voted no with 289,088 voting yes. The turn-out in the referendum was 55.2%.

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