Vote 2014: DUP secure highest number of council seats in Northern Ireland

Peter Robinson greets councillors at city hall Peter Robinson celebrates with party councillors at Belfast City Hall

The DUP have secured the highest number of seats in Northern Ireland's local council elections.

They gained 130 ahead of Sinn Féin on 105. The Ulster Unionist Party claimed 88, the SDLP 66 and Alliance 32.

The remainder of the seats, 41, were made up by smaller parties and independents.

Counting ended in the early hours of Sunday morning for the 462 seats in the 11 new super councils which were contested by more than 900 candidates.

Counting for the European elections begins on Monday.

Following the council vote, both Sinn Féin and the DUP can lay claim to the largest party title.

Sinn Féin because it polled the biggest share; the DUP because it won the most seats.

The DUP has clearly lost a bit of ground to the TUV and Jim Allister will continue to be a thorn in the flesh.

The Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt is buoyant.

The SDLP leader has a comfort blanket in that the vote mostly held up, although Derry is a disaster.

The party has been outpolled in their citadel by Sinn Féin.

There's still the Euro-poll to come.

Sinn Féin can relax. It's expected to top the poll in Northern Ireland and make gains in the Republic.

On the unionist side, the DUP's Diane Dodds and the UUP's Jim Nicholson, based on the last Euro-poll, are best placed to win the other two seats.

But the question has to be: just how many votes did Jim Allister, TUV, win? Will he out-do the 66,000 he won the last time - or did he peak in 2009?

The DUP has dipped from a 27% share in 2011 to 23%.

The Ulster Unionists are up around 1% to 16.5%.

On the nationalist side, Sinn Féin has dropped by about 0.5%, remaining steady at around 24%.

The SDLP is down from 15% to around 13.5%.

Alliance has marginally dipped by less than 1% and is on around 6%.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said it was the start of a revival for his party.

"We are on a journey and it is an upward journey and it is a positive journey," he said.

However, the DUP's Gregory Campbell said the UUP vote had only increased by 0.9% and said the party's leader was in danger of becoming known as '.9% Nesbitt'.

He said the DUP vote "held up tremendously well, given that we were at a very high plateau".

'No wipe-out'

Sinn Féin's Niall Ó Donnghaile rejected suggestions that his party had not received the "bounce" in votes in Northern Ireland some had predicted after leader Gerry Adams was arrested and then released over the murder of Jean McConville.

"We don't look at the party in those sort of confines, we look at the party nationally, we'll look to see how we do overall and the news coming from the rest of the country is that Sinn Féin certainly has bounced," he said.

Naomi Long of Alliance said the party was now the third biggest in Belfast City Council where "a wipe-out had been predicted".

"The fact we held our ground in what was the most testing 18 months for Alliance is actually remarkably good for the party," she said.

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said he had set out to renew and rebuild the party.

"We have mustered at the level that I had anticipated, 40% of our councillors are women - some of them 22 or 23 years of age - and 40% are new, the party is renewing," he said

Controversy

In terms of seats, some smaller parties have made gains.

The Traditional Unionist Voice saw its vote rise from 2% last time to 4.5%.

Northern Ireland's newest political party, NI21, had one councillor elected despite the controversy that overshadowed the party in the days running up to the election.

Johnny McCarthy won a seat in Lisburn.

In the European election, the results will not be known until Monday when all 28 countries have voted.

Ten candidates are in the race for Northern Ireland's three seats in the European parliament.

Johnny mccarthy radio interview Johnny McCarthy gives a radio interview after he made political history by becoming the first-ever NI21 candidate to win a council seat in Northern Ireland

BBC News Online NI provided its most comprehensive coverage ever with live and detailed news and results for each of the 11 new councils.

  • A final scoreboard shows the state of the parties across Northern Ireland at the conclusion of the council vote.
  • Each new council has its own dedicated page with its own state-of-the-parties scoreboard.
  • There are also details of who has been elected in each of Northern Ireland's 80 new district electoral areas (DEAs).
  • The same service will be available for the European count on Monday 26 May.
  • On social media, follow @BBCNewsNI and @BBCRadioFoyle on Twitter and BBC Newsline on Facebook

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