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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 March 2007, 19:46 GMT
In quotes: Assembly election
With vote counting in Northern Ireland's assembly election well under way, some of the key figures have been giving their opinions.

GERRY ADAMS, SINN FEIN LEADER

Gerry Adams

Mr Adams, who was elected in West Belfast, said he wanted Ian Paisley to "use any renewed mandate positively".

I keep quoting his remarks at St Andrews when he talked about the future being for our children and our grandchildren.

It's not exactly what Bobby Sands said - Bobby said our revenge will be the laughter of our children - so I think that's what the future is about and I would like to think that Ian Paisley will use that vote in a very positive way.

IAN PAISLEY, DUP LEADER

Ian Paisley

Mr Paisley was elected on the first count in North Antrim. He was asked about the possibility of going into government with Sinn Fein.

We will enter into talks tomorrow with the secretary of state, we will be meeting the prime minister next week, and the hard negotiations are now going to start.

Sinn Fein are not entitled to be at the table until they declare themselves for democracy.

I am a democrat, I don't speak to loyalist paramilitaries, I don't speak to Sinn Fein.

SIR REG EMPEY, UUP LEADER

Sir Reg Empey

Sir Reg, who was elected in East Belfast, said the results had been disappointing for his party, but that their aim remained a "functioning, devolved Stormont".

The Ulster Unionist Party will be part of that adminstration and we will do everything in our power to see that it works.

And the normal politics, which I believe most people want, are delivered.

ALASDAIR MCDONNELL, SDLP DEPUTY LEADER

Mr McDonnell, who was elected in South Belfast, said he was happy with his own election but admitted to "personal disappointment" in other constituencies.

Government has lined this whole thing up for a big battle between Sinn Fein and the DUP and to a large extent that's understandable - they've been the problem parties for the last 10 years.

But when you talk about delivering, the reality is that they're very slow and drag their heels about delivering.

NAOMI LONG, ALLIANCE PARTY

Naomi Long

Ms Long was elected in East Belfast.

I think it's quite clear that people in East Belfast, many of them are looking for an alternative to tribal politics and they realise that the Alliance Party is the alternative to tribal politics.

We want to see the assembly up and running, getting elected is only the first stage in that. What I want to see is everyone who was elected today committed to making the assembly work for the people who elected them.

DAITHI MCKAY, SINN FEIN

Daithi McKay
Daithi McKay was elected on the first count in North Antrim.

I'm only 25 and I know many young people who voted for Sinn Fein and they do so because they believe that Sinn Fein have a vision.

They believe that what we're about is changing society. We're not interested in going into the institutions as a career or just to take money for junkets.



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