Northern Ireland Election 2016

NI Assembly election: 276 candidates to run in May poll

Image caption The election in May will see 108 MLAs returned to Stormont

A total of 276 candidates will stand in next month's Northern Ireland Assembly election.

They will compete for the 108 seats across 18 constituencies on 5 May.

The figure is up on the same election five years ago, when 218 candidates were in the race.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is fielding the most candidates, with 44, while Sinn Féin will run 39.

The Ulster Unionist Party has 33 candidates, the Social Democratic and Labour Party will run 24 and the Alliance Party has 23 runners.

Eighteen candidates will run for the Green Party, while the Traditional Unionist Voice has 15.

The UK Independence Party will stand 13 candidates and the Conservative Party will run 12.

The number of women candidates contesting the election has doubled from 38 in 2011 to 76 this year.

That is up from just over 17% of the overall number of candidates to more than 27%.

The seats with the most competition are East Belfast, South Belfast, North Belfast and West Tyrone.

Eighteen candidates are vying for the six MLA posts available in those constituencies.

The seats that have attracted the least interest from would-be MLAs are West Belfast, Mid Ulster and South Down, all of which are being contested by just 12 candidates.

Nominations for candidates closed on Tuesday afternoon.

The BBC will be providing coverage of the election across the BBC News NI website, television and radio.

Click to read and compare key party pledges

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