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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 19:49 GMT
Leaders returned in assembly poll
Counting continues in the NI assembly election
All four leaders of the main parties in Northern Ireland have been returned to the Stormont Assembly.

About 30% of the 108 seats have been filled with Sinn Fein and the DUP polling strongly.

The British and Irish governments hope the outcome will lead to the restoration of devolved government.

A power-sharing executive is due to be formed on 26 March. NI Secretary Peter Hain urged the new intake of assembly members to deliver devolved government.

"It is clear from the early set of results that people in Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly for power sharing and they want their politicians to run with it on March 26," he said.

"They want them to start dealing with the bread and butter issues raised on the doorstep throughout the election campaign."

Almost 250 candidates were standing in 18 constituencies in the proportional representation election.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and the DUP leader, Ian Paisley, topped the poll in their constituencies.

Party Seats +/-
DUP 36 +6
SF 28 +4
UUP 18 -9
SDLP 16 -2
AP 7 +1
GP 1 +1
PUP 1 0
UKUP 0 -1
After 108 of 108 elected

SDLP leader Mark Durkan was elected on the first count at Foyle, but UUP leader Sir Reg Empey had to wait to the third stage before being returned.

Sir Reg said the results, so far, had been disappointing for his party, but that their aim remained a "functioning, devolved Stormont".

"Our party has undertaken a lot of the heavy lifting in the past decade," he said.

Gerry Adams said those who voted did so to see Northern Ireland's institutions working and "those against that have their answer, it seems, in fairly overwhelming terms".

Ian Paisley said Sinn Fein had to "turn from their evil ways".

Mark Durkan said: "We have held up our vote. Let's wait until the count is over, we will see how it stacks up."

In East Antrim the area's MP, Sammy Wilson, topped the poll for the DUP with 6,755 first preference votes.

In South Antrim Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin topped the poll with 6,313 votes.

Alasdair McDonnell of the SDLP was returned in South Belfast and Naomi Long of Alliance was elected in East Belfast.

The vote count is under way in all constituencies

In North Belfast the DUP's Nigel Dodds topped the poll with 6,973 votes and Sinn Fein policing spokesman Gerry Kelly was elected in the second spot with 5,414 votes.

There were 46 DUP candidates, 38 Ulster Unionist, 37 Sinn Fein, 35 SDLP and 18 Alliance candidates across the constituencies. Votes will be counted on Thursday and Friday.

There were also 13 UKUP candidates - who include the party leader standing in six different constituencies - 13 Green Party, nine Conservative and six Workers Party candidates.

The Make Politicians History Party fielded the same candidate in the four Belfast constituencies, whilst the Progressive Unionist Party was running three candidates and there were two for the Socialist Party.

There was one candidate each for the following parties: Labour, People Before Profit, Pro-capitalism, Social Environmental Alliance and UKIP.

There were 26 independent candidates, who included six Republican Sinn Fein candidates.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended since October 2002, amid allegations of an IRA spy ring at Stormont. A subsequent court case collapsed. Direct rule has been in place since that date.

Get the latest results and live coverage by clicking on this link

A full results service is also available on Ceefax page 190.





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