Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Friday, 6 May 2011 11:59 UK

NI Stormont Assembly election results: As it happened

Counting at the King's Hall

The BBC News website covered the Northern Ireland Assembly election results as they came in.

Read back through the entries from 1200 BST onwards to see how the first day of counting unfolded.


0006 Our live coverage of results is finishing for the night - but we will be back with all the latest from the counts on Saturday morning at 0900 BST.

0000 Coverage on Radio Ulster and BBC1 has finished for the night but will resume on Saturday morning. Coverage on television starts at 1000 BST and on Radio Ulster 0900 BST

2358 FERMANAGH SOUTH TYRONE RESULT: Michelle Gildernew SF, Tom Elloitt UUP and Arlene Foster DUP have been elected in first count

2351 BBC's Ireland correspondent Mark Simpson says so far in Northern Ireland, only 36 of the 108 seats at Stormont have been filled. The latest state of the parties is: DUP 15, Sinn Fein 13, SDLP 3, Alliance 3, UUP 2

2346 UPPER BANN RESULT: Sydney Anderson and Stephen Moutray passed the quota in fifth round. Count to reconvene at 0800 BST on Saturday. put text here

2340 With 35 seats filled out of 108 in the Northern Ireland Assembly the party shares are: DUP 15, SF 13, SDLP 3, Alliance 2, UUP 2

2334 SOUTH BELFAST RESULT: SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell elected on the 2nd count

2329 BBC's Amy Robinson says it looks like Mickey Brady will be elected in Newry and Armagh

2328 With 17 of the 18 first count results in the main party shares are DUP 30.42%, no change on 2007, SF 25.89%, up by 0.46%, SDLP 14.61%, down 0.72%, UUP 12.75%, down 1.85%, Alliance 8.01%, up 2.48%

2335 Watch a video clip of when Guns and Roses interrupt vote declaration
2325 DUP's Sammy Wilson says he's watched staff working hard at the count but the fact that there were three different elections having to be dealt with that meant counting didn't start until 5pm. Counting has now been suspended.

2325 Mark Devenport says things look tight for SDLP's Declan O'Loan and there's a potential for real turnover in North Down with DUP successes at the expense of the UUP.

2217 As results come in coverage will continue on BBC1 and Radio Ulster -and of course online

2315 With 33 seats filled out of 108 in the Northern Ireland Assembly the party shares are: DUP 14, SF 13, SDLP 2, Alliance 2, UUP 2

2315 EAST ANTRIM RESULT: DUP's Sammy Wilson elected

2307 Counting in Mid-Ulster will resume tomorrow

2306 MID ULSTER RESULT: Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness and DUP's Ian McCrea elected

2305 WEST TYRONE RESULT: Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty and Barry McElduff elected

2301 A mobile phone ringtone of the Guns and Roses song Sweet child of mine interrupts West Tyrone count

2300 DUP leader Peter Robinson delighted at his vote increase in East Belfast

2257 WEST BELFAST RESULT: Sinn Fein's Paul Maskey topped the poll with 5343 and Sinn Fein's Jennifer McCann also elected with 5239

2256 Former UU advisor Alex Kane says it's been a very good day for Peter Robinson

2255 Political commentator Brian Feeney says he can't remember an election where "so many silly things happened"

2253 With 14 of the 18 first count results in the main party shares are DUP 31.25%, up by 0.06%, SF 23.03%, down by 0.27%, SDLP 15.66%, down 0.09%, UUP 12.91%, down 2.04%, Alliance 8.81%, up 3%

2250 Kevin Magee says UU Fred Cobain could be a high profile casualty of East Antrim count suspension

2249 BBC's Julian Fowler says West Tyrone vote imminent

2247 BREAKING: BBC's Kevin Magee says East Antrim count has been prematurely suspended. The SF candidate asked for votes on either side of his to be checked and rogue votes were uncovered. As a result all the first preference votes are now being rechecked.

2246 Foyle and East Londonderry count suspended for the night

2243 DUP leader Peter Robinson tells the BBC's Gareth Gordon he wants to look to the future and his party moving NI on. Mr Robinson may have lost his Westminster seat to Naomi Long last year, but he says the says Alliance party must be "quaking in their boots" in the constituency.

2244 With 13 of the 18 first count results in the main party shares are DUP 33.01%, up by 0.43%, SF 19.85%, down by 0.26%, SDLP 15.84%, down 0.15%, UUP 13.55%, down 2.31%, Alliance 9.38%, up 3.20%

2241 SOUTH ANTRIM RESULT: David Ford of the Alliance Party has just been elected on 2nd count

2240 27 seats filled out of 108 in the Northern Ireland Assembly the party shares are: DUP 13, SF 8, SDLP 2, Alliance 2, UUP 2

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2240 BBC NI's political editor Mark Devenport says it's been a good election for the DUP and SF with a general weakening for the UU and SDLP

2234 EAST BELFAST RESULT: DUP leader Peter Robinson recovers from his Westminster bloody nose to top the poll.

2234 counting in North Antrim has been suspended.

2232 The BBC's Joe Doran says counting in Foyle and East Londonderry is wrapping up for the evening and they'll be back in the morning.

2230 23 seats filled out of 108 in the Northern Ireland Assembly the party shares are: DUP10, SF 7, SDLP 2, Alliance 2, UUP 2

2229 Nelson McCausland of the DUP reflects on North Belfast voting, having been elected himself. He says the DUP is in with a chance of taking a third seat. "There will be some tense moments for people I'm sure in the morning," he says.

2229 NEWRY AND ARMAGH RESULT: William Irwin of the DUP elected on third count

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2227 DUP Assembly candidate for East Antrim @alastairianross tweets: "Gross incompetence on display at East Antrim count. Beyond belief."

2223 NORTH ANTRIM RESULT: Paul Frew of the DUP, Daithi McKay of Sinn Fein and Mervyn Storey of the DUP elected.

2219 20 seats filled out of 108 in the Northern Ireland Assembly the party shares are: DUP 8, SF 6, SDLP 2, Alliance 2, UUP 2

2213 NORTH DOWN RESULT: Alex Easton DUP elected

2205 Drama from the East Londonderry count: The UUP's Lesley Macauley has been eliminated in the second count. She's not happy at all, and has already left the count centre.

2203 NORTH BELFAST RESULT: Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly topped poll and DUP's Nelson McCausland was also returned

2159 BBC's Claire Savage says North Down Count due in 10 mins

2158 @bbcmartinap tweets: DUP Paul Frew in North Antrim says if TUV leader Jim Allister gets in to Stormont, it will be on his hands and knees.

2157 BREAKING: reports coming in of a complete recount in East Antrim

2153 BBC's Peter Somerset in Kings Hall says Anna Lo's surplus of 1774 is now being distributed

2151 BBC's Amy May Robinson says all counting stopped at Lagan Valley - for the night

2149 SOUTH BELFAST RESULT: Alliance's Anna Lo is elected

2148 @bbcmartinap tweets: "Newry and Armagh which was supposed to be predictable turning into interesting race, with SDLP in contention for 2nd seat."

2146 BBC NI's Nicola Weir in North Antrim says unofficially Paul Frew of DUP will top poll closely followed by SF Daithi McKay

2145@dgordon45 tweets: Kieran McCarthy was a stunning goalkeeper for MLA football team against media last year

2142 The Alliance Party's Kieran McCarthy is pleased to have been returned in Strangford. "I have been Alliance health spokesperson and the health ministry might be of interest," he says.

2140 Anna Lo of the Alliance Party is delighted at her strong performance in South Belfast. She says: "I got votes from all sections of our community and all parts of South Belfast - it shows there is a lot of common ground and a lot of liberal people. It is a recognition that the Alliance Party does work for everyone."

Catriona Ruane
2138 Sinn Fein's newly re elected Catriona Ruane says it has been a "very good election" for her party. Looking ahead to the formation of the next executive, she says: "I have loved every minute of my time as education minister, it has been a privilege and the change we have brought about needs to continue. It's up to the party to decide what portfolios we take."

2136 Paul Girvan of the DUP says he's pleased to have been elected in South Antrim, after he was co-opted in the constituency last year to replace William McCrea. "This is an endorsement not of me as an individual but of the party," he says. Mr Girvan says he's confident that the DUP will take a third seat in South Antrim.

2131 Counting suspended at Strangford - it will resume at 0900 BST on Saturday

2131 STRANGFORD RESULT: DUP Jonathan Bell, Alliance Kieran McCarthy, DUP Michelle McIlveen, elected

2130 Ulster Unionist South Belfast candidate Mark Finlay tells the BBC it's "fairly clear" he's not going to be elected. "It's going to be a hard-fought sixth seat - Michael McGimpsey, Conall McDevitt and Ruth Patterson may have to arm-wrestle for it," he says.

2026 Counting in South Down has been suspended for the night

2117 SOUTH ANTRIM RESULT: Trevor Clarke DUP, Paul Girvan DUP, Mitchel McLaughlin Sinn Fein elected

2113 FOYLE RESULT: DUP's William Hay and Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson elected

2110 Mr Shields says "he's hopeful" the results will be completed tomorrow

2110 Mr Shields says: "This exercise is about accuracy, not about speed. The law stated there would be three elections on this day. This is a complicated process and people have to accept that. We will take as long as it takes to get it right. If there are lessons to learn, that will be done in good time. We are using eight venues across Northern Ireland, the biggest venues we could find. My staff have worked very hard and they're doing their best in difficult circumstances."

2109 Chief Electoral Officer Graham Shields says if lessons need to be learned from the problems with the results - they will be

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2104 @McCannCh tweets: "#Scotland will be an independent nation by the time our election results are counted.

2055 BBC NI's Rosy Billingham in East Belfast says Dawn Purvis' count team are worried that the UUP's Michael Copeland has outpolled his UUP running mate, to such and extent that Dawn will not be able to catch him and will lose her seat.

2055 BBC NI's Sarah Travers says AV result might not be declared until 2300. A briefing from the electoral office puts the delay down the fact that there were three elections in one day

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2050 Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson tweets that the votes are found - recount in Foyle over

2046 NEWRY AND ARMAGH RESULT: Sinn Fein's Cathal Boylan elected

2045 Five out of 18 constituencies have now declared

2042 Nigel Dodds says the electorate deserves better

2032 The outgoing speaker tells Keiron Tourish a full investigation must be launched

2031 DUP's Willie Hay says the recount news has come as a complete shock -there will be a full recount of first preference votes. Results will be delayed until some time tomorrow. Something needs to be done to resolve the problems experienced with delays, he says

2027 BBC NI's Joe Doran telling us a full recount in Foyle - the electoral office says the figures don't add up

2024 In South Down SDLP's Margaret Ritchie returned with 8,506 votes

2023 BBC NI's Louise Cullen, says it is a comedy of errors in Fermanagh South Tyrone and Omagh count. A table has now collapsed sending papers across the floor which will need to be recounted.

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2017 @nornironyorkie tweets: "Love the Facebook comment comparing the @bbcnivote2011 logo to the Doctor Who logo and travelling in time to get the results"

Stephen Walker
2008 The BBC's Stephen Walker breaks down the Lagan Valley figures: DUP get 52.7 % of first preference votes. UUP get 20.3 %. Latest predictions are four DUP seats, one UUP and one Alliance.

2005 A bit more from Lagan Valley... total eligible ballots 35,487; quota 5070; Edwin Poots got 7,329 first-preference votes, Basil McCrea received 5,771.

2003 LAGAN VALLEY RESULT: The DUP's Edwin Poots and Ulster Unionist Basil McCrea are elected.

1958 The BBC's Will Leitch says an assembly and a referendum ballot box were mixed up with the wrong labels in the North Antrim count. Candidates have just been told.

1953 EAST LONDONDERRY RESULT: The DUP's Gregory Campbell is elected.

1948 BBC NI district journalist Nicola Weir says unofficially the quota in North Antrim is 5,910. The SDLP's Declan O'Loan says that if he loses his seat to TUV leader Jim Allister it wouldn't be "a step forward for the north".

Mark Devenport
@bbcmarkd tweets: Final seat in Upper Bann will be very tight - the SDLP's Dolores Kelly may not survive

1924 Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy says his result in Newry and Armagh was stunning and a magnificent one for his party.

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@iamdavidwebb tweets: "Harry Hamilton polled 1979 votes. Ironically that was the year when Queen released their first live album"

1920 BBC NI district journalist Nicola Weir says counting of the North Antrim and Mid Ulster votes has finally begun.

1913 UPPER BANN RESULT: John O'Dowd of Sinn Fein elected.

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Steven in Belfast emails: "If it is taking this long to count with a low turn out, what would it have been like with a high turnout? It's time we started counting through the night like everyone else."

1903 Conor Murphy received 9,127 first-preference votes, Danny Kennedy 8,718 and Dominic Bradley 7,123.

1900 NEWRY AND ARMAGH RESULT: Conor Murphy of Sinn Fein tops the poll followed by the UUP's Danny Kennedy and the SDLP's Dominic Bradley.

1855 The first declarations are expected in both Lagan Valley and South Down at around 1930 BST.

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1853 Noooooooo! The BBC's Will Leitch tweeting from Ballymena - "officials say count will last until sat night. Only one mla likely elected tonight"

1851 While we wait for the first result, why not have a read of Mark Devenport reflecting on an intriguing election campaign. Just make sure you come back - surely it won't be long now...

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@Striker2_0 tweets: "it's lucky there was not a bigger turn out or we'd still be waiting this time next week for a result"

1843 Official turnout in Fermanagh/South Tyrone is 68.9%.

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Robbie in Belfast emails: "Okay I'm home now - send a few votes round and I'll count them!"

Martin McGuinness
1841 As we drum our fingers and wait for the first result to come in, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness says there is "considerable dismay all round" at the delay in getting results in NI. "There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this," he adds.

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Sean in Belfast writes about the turnout: "It's not apathy, it's normality. Not everyone feels the need to vote in order to keep the other side out."

Tony Blair and Art Garfunkel
@bbcmartinap tweets about Martin McGuinness being refused admission to the leisure centre: "Do they think Martin McGuinness might be Art Garfunkel? I mean, if they were as zealous about their counting."

1827 BBC NI district reporter Nicola Weir says Martin McGuinness wasn't allowed into the leisure centre at Seven Towers in Ballymena until he confirms his identity - they run a tight ship there...

1826 The ballot papers have had the hairdryer treatment in Fermanagh-South Tyrone (see 1637) but it gets worse... the BBC's Julian Fowler tweets: "electoral staff are locked out of their computer and can't complete first verification."

@bbcconormac tweets: "delay in Newry Armagh declaration because dep returning officer tied up with spoilt votes in Upp Bann" - sorry if we got your hopes up at 1748!

1820 Political analyst Henry Bell says it is difficult to be a number-cruncher when there are no numbers to crunch.

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Noel Harrison in Carrickfergus emails: "NI has been used to convoluted elections for years. Why is it now taking so long to get even a result? Surely, someone should look at the set up. They knew that there were going to be three ballots. Plan for it."

1817 It has been a long six-week campaign for politicians, but Martina Purdy asked if the main parties were concerned about voter fatigue?

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Tom in Cambridge writes: "Perversely the low turn out is a great sign for democracy in Northern Ireland! It is another sign post on the road to political normalisation. No longer the sectarian headcount, simply general political disengagement as in most other parts of the UK and Europe and developed countries."

1807 Just over nine hours after counting began there are still no results in Northern Ireland. Here's a how Scotland and Wales fared:

Scotland counted through the night: polls closed at 2200, the first result was in at 0054, the final result came in at 1721 BST on Friday. They had their first result within three hours.

Wales: Some constituencies counted through the night, but the north didn't start until this morning. Polls closed at 2200 BST on Thursday, and the first result came in at 0210, final result all votes counted and declared by 1350 BST.

Philip in Belfast writes: "Does it really make any difference at this stage who runs in each area? If a goat ran for election for either of the main parties in their stronghold it would still win by a landslide. Will this ever end?"

1800 As coverage on BBC One pauses for the Six O'Clock News, the score remains nil-all. Stay tuned here... surely a result will be in soon!

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Vicente Hernandez from Madrid emails Northern Ireland is an example of determination in finding democratic pathways to peace. The normality in which this elections have developed show to the world that Northern Ireland society is democratically mature, holding a bright future for its citizens.

David Ford
1757 Alliance leader David Ford says his party's faith in positive politics is being rewarded.

1755 The SDLP's Conall McDevitt says it will be a scrap between himself, DUP's Ruth Paterson and UUP's Michael McGimpsey for last the two seats in South Belfast. He says it will depend on where Alliance's Anna Lo's surplus goes to.

1753 As promised at 1726, here's some video of DUP leader Peter Robinson arriving at the counting centre in Newtownards.

1750 Alliance's Naomi Long said after a gruelling campaign the wait for results is exhausting but she is confident the party will return two candidates in East Belfast. She also praised Anna Lo's performance in South Belfast and said she was optimistic about Harry Hamilton in Upper Bann.

Mark Devenport
1749 BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport says 100 electoral office staff did work through the night on the verification process.

1748 The BBC's Conor MacAuley says Newry and Armagh has the "dubious distinction of being the most predictable constituency". Results due VERY SOON.

1747 The DUP's Nigel Dodds says "it's now getting to the ridiculous stage" that no results are in yet.

1746 Martina Purdy says Newry and Armagh could be the first result in.

1745 BBC Radio Foyle's Joe Doran says the SDLP's Mark H Durkan (nephew of the former party leader) had in fact used his middle initial on the ballot, contrary to earlier reports - although Mr Durkan jovially conceded it was a small 'h'. His good mood seems to be down to the fact that he is polling well.

@bbcmartinap tweets again, this time about North Belfast: "DUP claim they are outpolling UUP Fred Cobain by 5 to 1. Although votes still being verified."

@bbcmartinap tweets: "Nearly 10 hours later and still no votes counted in N/Ant. Turnout figure at last 62%. And now they are taking a break!"

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Mairtin in Derry emails: "Looks like only ourselves in the NI anarchist movement can take some heart from the widespread sense of disgust, disengagement, opposition and distrust that exists towards all bourgeois political parties and is reflected partly in the ever dwindling turnouts at elections. Universal suffrage truly is counter-revolution."

Martina Purdy
@bbcmartinap tweets: "SF Gerry Adams not impressed with counting. Says King's Hall not too lively just now."

Margaret Ritchie
1735 SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie says she is hopeful that "at the least" the party will be taking two seats in her South Down constituency.

e-mail sent in by reader
Mark in Lisburn emails: "Why did the counts only begin at 8am today, instead of last night like the rest of the UK? This is unacceptable. Let's stop being lazy and leaving it to the last minute. If the rest of the UK can count the ballots last night after polls were closed, so can NI."

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Martin in Coleraine emails: "It may well be that the result of the election in Scotland will have a more profound effect on the long-term status of Northern Ireland than anything that happens in our local Assembly election."

1728 Too many cooks? It's all very well electing politicians to the Assembly, but is Stormont actually working? Martina Purdy investigated.

Peter Robinson
1726 Peter Robinson says it is "pleasing and rewarding to hear that across the province our candidates are doing well". Stay tuned for video clip on the way...

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@BBC_natasha tweets: Official turnout Strangford 30186 votes from electorate of 62178 = % turnout of 48.55

Aaron in Bangor writes: "It comes as no surprise North Down had the worst turnout, this has to be seen as a vote of no confidence in a group of dinosaurs who still think £50 will buy your first car."

1723 DUP leader Peter Robinson arrives at count centre in Newtownards.

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Conor from Banbridge writes: "As an 18-year-old, yesterday was my first ever vote! This is incredibly exciting from the perspective of a Politics student. It is often seen as social anathema to be in the 'middle' but I hope to see Alliance make gains. Will also be interesting to see how the UUP have done."

1719 The UUP's Basil McCrea says the party will look and see what state it is in at the end of the election and "take stock of what the electorate tells us". He says the turnout was as low as 35% in parts of Lisburn and clearly some people don't feel engaged politically.

Martina Purdy
@bbcmartinap tweets: "David McClarty still mad over the way he was treated by UUP. Looks set however to have his revenge in E/L/Derry. Going 2 to 1 with UUP"

e-mail sent in by reader
Brendan in Tyrone writes: "Looks like apathy is the real winner of the 2011 assembly elections. Is this a reflection of the electorate's real views on the performance of Stormont?"

1716 Here's a bit of video of Chief Electoral Officer Graham Shields defending the speed of vote counting.

1714 The DUP's Sammy Wilson tells the BBC he thinks his party has increased its vote in East Antrim and will be pushing for a number of extra seats in other constituencies.

1712 The BBC's Rosy Billingham says DUP leader Peter Robinson is expected to arrive at Ards Leisure Centre shortly where the East Belfast, Strangford and North Down counts are taking place. The entire contingent of DUP candidates and count teams are outside ready to meet him.

1711 Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty says his colleagues in Fermanagh/South Tyrone feel they are on course to win three seats.

1710 The BBC's Marie Irvine at the Kings Hall in Belfast says the AV result may not be in until 2200 BST.

e-mail sent in by reader
James K, from Liverpool via Omagh, emails "Parties should perhaps be happy with the turnout, despite the drop. I am a Northern Irish student studying in Liverpool and my local ward's turnout here was 15% for the council elections and AV vote.

e-mail sent in by reader
Roger in Omagh emails: "I feel after today that the UUP must take a long hard look at their voting strategies and in particular their leader Tom Elliott, squabbling among unionism is old and dated and MUST stop, this is why they are polling so badly in some areas and alright in others."

1704 Former Ulster Unionist David McClarty tells the BBC's Keiron Tourish he's polling well in East Londonderry and believes he was treated "abysmally" by his former party.

1702 1657: In North Belfast, Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly says he thinks it's going well so far. He says the first four seats are always straightforward - it is the last two seats there is a question over.

1701 People have been emailing and tweeting about why it's taking so long to count the votes. Chief Electoral Officer Graham Shields tells BBC Newsline's Noel Thompson he received a request for the AV count to be suspended just before 1600 BST. The issue arose because verification had not be completed. The count resumed at 1635, he says.

1657 Confused about the various election claims and promises? Here's our handy guide to where the parties stand on key issues.

Tom Elliott
1655 Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott tells the BBC it's early days yet in the counting and his party is in contention for a second seat in Fermanagh.

1654 Irish News editor Noel Doran tells BBC Radio Ulster Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness might have played it well in their campaigns by talking about taking votes "from across the divide". He says this might not have happened as often as they would've had liked but it is a stance that worked. Apart from education, there are few policy decisions that separate them, he says.

e-mail sent in by reader
Sam in Ballygowan emails: "I would love to see the TUV get in in the Ards area as the DUP have totally lost all self respect in my opinion. I asked them a simple question and was told to move on with the times and stop being a bigot."

Tom Elliott
1649 Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott tells the BBC's Noel Thompson he will not be making excuses for his party's performance.

1649 Splitting of the unionist vote has long been an issue in Northern Ireland elections. Martina Purdy looked at the key battlegrounds within unionism.

1648 Official turnout for Strangford 48.55%

1646 The SDLP's Patsy McGlone tells Radio Ulster the count in Mid Ulster is taking an "inordinate amount of time". He says it looks like it might be moving from a long night until an extra long night.

1640 Click here to watch some video of a jubilant Anna Lo who says she has a high number of first-preference votes.

1637 The BBC's Julian Fowler says some Fermanagh ballots got wet during transport. Count staff have asked for hairdryers.

e-mail sent in by reader
Jim in Ontario, Canada emails: "We just had a federal election here in Canada May 02. All results were counted and released in about six hours or so. Northern Ireland is such a tiny community compared to Canada, so why does it take so long to get the election results?"

1635 The DUP's Sammy Douglas says he received first and second preference votes from the mainly nationalist Short Strand area of East Belfast

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@bbcconormac tweets: "No results from Banbridge before six we're being told."

1630 The BBC's Andy Martin in Belfast says the counting of AV referendum votes in Northern Ireland has not started on time, due to delays in the verification of ballots. The hold ups have occurred at polling stations outside Belfast. It's believed that some count staff have not turned up as scheduled.

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@DMcDT tweets: "This election really sums up NI politics. Starting late, a lot of hypotheticals & too many people not knowing whats going on"

@BBCWill_Leitch tweets: "Turnout in Mid Ulster looking like 65%.

1625 The BBC's Maggie Taggart is at the Kings Hall chasing information about the AV vote: commissioners in London have told counters not to begin until all constituency boxes across Northern Ireland have been verified. It had been due to start at 1600 BST.

1623 Here's a view from the count at the Kings Hall in south Belfast.
Counting at the King's Hall

1620 The SDLP's Patsy McGlone says the counting hasn't started yet in Ballymena. Voting has just been verified. Mr McGlone adds that sleeping bags may be required.

1617 BBC NI reporter Rosy Billingham says in East Belfast DUP leader Peter Robinson is expected to top the poll with his vote thousands above the quotas. In the fight for the final seat, former PUP MLA Dawn Purvis is faring badly against the UUP's Michael Copeland, who is in the lead by 600 to 800 votes.

1615 The SDLP and Sinn Fein have had at best a fractious relationship over the years. Gareth Gordon examined the biggest rivalry in nationalism going into this election.

Martina Purdy
@BBCMartinaP tweets: "So predictions of UUP demise in Upper Bann premature - the latest is Alliance Harry Hamilton will not win. SDLP Dolores Kelly confident. And looks like UUP Samuel Gardiner will be in but question mark over Joanne Dobson as under pressure from SF's second candidate"

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@VincentLacey tweets: "The idea that SF voters would give 2nd preference in DUP is incredible, something no-one would have thought 10 yrs ago."

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@BBCWill_Leitch tweets: "Strong indications in Mid Ulster that Sandra Overend of UUP has polled well enough to keep her father Billy Armstrong's seat."

1605 Discussion on BBC One NI election programme about whether there is an emergence now of "garden centre nationalists", regarding the issue of voting or not.

1603 Initial figures suggest turnout across the UK in the AV referendum ranges from 35.4% to 50.7%, the Electoral Commission says.

1600 BBC NI's Marie Irvine at the Kings Hall says the official turnout figure from North Antrim is 55%

1555 SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie has just arrived at the South Down count in Lisburn.

1552 BBC NI's Conor MacAuley says there is growing speculation that Sinn Fein could claim a second seat in Upper Bann.

1545 BBC NI's Joe Doran says there could be an upset at the East Londonderry count. Could be a UUP loss on the cards as Lesley Macaulay is not polling so well and David McClarty, who is now an independent, is doing well and seems quietly confident.

1544 BBC's Yvette Shapiro says the DUP are expected to claim three seats in North Antrim. Sinn Fein's Daithi McKay and TUV leader Jim Allister expected to gain seats as well with the sixth a fight between the UUP and SDLP.

1543 In South Antrim, BBC NI's Ciara Riddell says it looks like the DUP will retain their two seats and gain a third at cost of SDLP seat.

1540 BBC NI's Rosy Billingham in East Belfast says Sinn Fein has told her there are very few nationalist transfers to Dawn Purvis. Alliance say if their two candidates have surpluses to share, Dawn Purvis will get a lot of transfers from their voters. But word is that PUP voters have Brian Ervine first and have refused to put Dawn second.

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1537 Karl from Belfast emails: "This is really exciting. I know it is not everyones cup of tea, but I am a stats freak. Can't wait for the results."

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1535 Dave Johnston from Dunmurry emails: "Once again, while the UK finishes counting many of their votes, Northern Ireland has barely begun. Maybe the lack of urgency reflects how little people care?"

1532 BBC's Maggie Taggart says Michael McGimpsey's vote in south Belfast seems to have stabilised, but fellow UUP candidate Mark Finlay does not appear to be polling as strongly. SDLP's Conall McDevitt looking "a little worried".

e-mail sent in by reader
1530 David from Ballymena emails: "I am 23 years old, but yesterday was the first time I have voted. Doing it previously would have been for the wrong reasons and purely tribal. However, having given yesterday's vote careful consideration, I am excited to see how this turns out."

1529 Alliance's Anna Lo says she is getting votes from "all sections of the community" in south Belfast. BBC's Maggie Taggart says it looks like she has polled "extremely well".

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1527 @Chrisanderson88 wonder what changes this term will bring, pantomime over, DUP/Sinn Fein suit themselves. The rest can bring our wee country forward

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1524 Rick Smith from Bangor emails: I can't help but think this might be the end for the UUP as we know it - early results suggest a bad day for them, and there's only so much soul searching one party can do before it's got to realise the game's up. I just hope the TUV are not the overall transfer winners from a UUP slump.

1522 Keiron Tourish says there is heavy security at the count centre for Foyle and east Londonderry. He says the PSNI has set up a checkpoint with vehicles being searched on the way in. Describes it as "airport style security".

1521 BBC NI's Joe Doran says Foyle turnout 57% down from 62% in 2007. Constituency to stay as you were with SDLP holding their seats but with a change in personnel. Early indications show Sinn Fein's Martina Anderson is polling welll as is Raymond McCartney and the SDLP's Mark H Durkan. Tellingly Mr Durkan has dropped his H on the ballot paper so his named appeared as Mark Durkan

1519 BBC's Shane Harrison says DUP's Jim Wells is at the count centre in South Down with his arm in his sling after his election fall.

Martina Purdy
1507 BBC NI's Martina Purdy says it looks like it will an election victory for the DUP and Sinn Fein

1505 Live stream of election 2011 now available - press refresh to see what's happening

1502 North Antrim turnout: Assembly: 54.83%; Local government: 54.82%; AV - 55.23%

1501 BBC NI's Martina Purdy has spoken to one SDLP candidate who has popped out of polling station. Can't stand the pressure!

1458 Live coverage of the assembly election about to kick off on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC 1 NI and of course continuing on online

Martina Purdy
1440 Martina Purdy writes: The SDLP won 16 last time but narrowly lost out in West Tyrone and Strangford last time. The party has a new leader in Margaret Ritchie and with boundary changes faces a loss in North Antrim. Even so the party is hopeful of an improved result and an extra place at the Executive table.

Gareth Gordon
1435 BBC NI reporter Gareth Gordon - DUP source predicts "emphatic" victory in East Belfast with Peter Robinson topping the poll.

1430 BBC NI's Chris Page has predictions from South Antrim: Girvan of DUP to top the poll; McLaughlin Sinn Fein and Ford Alliance also in with a chance; Danny Kinnehan UUP and Trevor Clarke DUP also very confident of holding seats. DUP believe their 3rd candidate Pam Lewis is in with a good chance of taking the 6th seat from SDLP's Thomas Burns.

1422 BBC NI Marie Irvine has official turn out figures: East Antrim: 48%; Foyle: 57%; Lagan Valley: 53%; North Down: 46%; Upper Bann: 55%; West Tyrone: 64%.

1416 Counting continues at centres across Northern Ireland

Counting continues

Martina Purdy
1409 Martina Purdy writes: Alliance is hoping for a bounce due to the fact it now has an MP and a seat at the Executive table. The party is hoping to increase its base from seven MLAs to nine.

1405 BBC NI's Julian Fowler says the revised turnout in West Tyrone is 64.3%. Postal votes had been left out of the original figure.

tweet
1358 BBC NI's Natasha Sayee tweets from Newtownards count centre - a special AV count team is in place. So as soon as East Belfast is verified and short break is taken the counts proper will begin.

tweet
1351 BBC Newsline tweets that in South Down the early indications are that the SDLP'S Karen McKevitt could be in trouble - Margaret Ritchie is picking up her votes

1342 BBC NI reporter Nicola Weir in North Antrim says UUP sources say they are in big trouble in North Antrim. May lose their seat. Also a lot of spoiled votes in the constituency.

1341 NI chief electoral officer Graham Shields says they expect the verification process to be completed by 4pm and that some first preference votes are expected to be counted by "teatime".

1337 Political editor Mark Devenport predicting a significant slump in turnout.

Stephen Walker
1334 BBC's Stephen Walker says the DUP are confident they will emerge as the largest party in the assembly. He says the signs are "not great" for the UUP. UUP leader Tom Elliott says the turnout has been disappointing.

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1331 Natasha Sayee tweets that a DUP source has told her that the initial tally suggests the UUP's David McNarry will lose his seat in Strangford.

1330 BBC NI reporter Nicola Weir says there's been an altercation at a polling station in Gracehill. It happened last night at around 2000 BST. Police have confirmed they were called to the station - no arrests were made and police are investigating the incident.

tweet
1324 BBC NI's Conor Macauley tweets that the turnout in Upper Bann was 55.34%

1323 Martina Purdy writes: The Ulster Unionists won 18 seats last time and lost out narrowly on a few. Like the SDLP, it has a new leader in Tom Elliott, and if it drops even a few percentage points in first preferences, it will lose seats. That would mean it losing one of its two Executive seats, and may prompt the party towards opposition. However, the party is hopeful of making a gain in Strangford and in West Tyrone. East Belfast will be one to watch to see how the party's vote fares.

Martina Purdy
1316 Martina Purdy writes: Expect changes in the make-up of the assembly following this count, and possibly some changes to the balance at the Executive table. Change is possible in 14 out of the 18 constituencies, and this count will leave some candidates sweating it out until the bitter end. And that means another sleepless night this evening as the fifth and sixth seats in some constituencies will not be in until Saturday.

1309 BBC's Shane Harrison says Jim Wells of the DUP has told him that Henry Reilly of UKIP has done so well in South Down that he believes the SDLP may end up taking Ulster Unionist John McCallister's seat as a result.

Martina Purdy
1308 Martina Purdy writes: The DUP and Sinn Fein are expected to retain the lion's share of seats in the 108-member assembly. And despite the DUP's claims it was a worry for unionist voters, the party is expected to retain the first minister's office. Sinn Fein - by far the largest nationalist party - is in line for the deputy first minister position.

1305 Sammy Wilson has committed the DUP to going ahead with plans for the Altnagelvin radiotherapy unit which was put on hold by Michael McGimpsey before the elections. The finance minister says he will move the plans forward when the elections are over.

1256 Official Foyle turnout is 57%

Mark Devenport
1255 BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport says UUP/SDLP sources in South Belfast have come up with a tally based on 1/4 of vote: UUP Finlay 3.7%; Alliance Lo 21.9%; SF Maskey 8%; SDLP McDevitt 7%; SDLP McDonnell 14.6%; UUP McGimpsey; 10.9% DUP Paterson 9.5%; DUP Spratt 19.7%

tweet
1250 BBC NI's Gareth Gordon at Ards tweets unofficial tally has UUP vote collapsing in North Down. Down to 10 %.

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1248 BBC NI's Natasha Sayee tweets that unofficial first preference tallies from Alliance and DUP show a big slump for UUP in North Down. Easton, Weir and Dunne could be in for DUP, Farry in for Alliance

1241 Mark Devenport says there are reports of a possible Ulster Unionist loss in east Antrim, whilst in Strangford the former TV presenter Mike Nesbitt appears to be outpolling his UUP running mate David McNarry. He says nationalist parties appear confident they have got their vote out

Mark Devenport
1240 BBC NI's Mark Devenport says that although there is still no official turnout figure, the percentage is predicted to be in the low to mid fifties. This will be well down on both last year's Westminster election and the last Assembly election four years ago.

1237 BBC's Yvette Shapiro says North Antrim SDLP candidate Declan O'Loan says he believes that TUV leader Jim Allister will take a seat in North Antrim. He was speaking after the completion of the verification of the North Antrim vote. Mr O'Loan says he believes that it will be between himself and a Ulster Unionist for the final seat in North Antrim.

1235 Pictures now coming in from all the local count centres.
Coutning

1233 Shane Harrison in south Down says Margaret Ritchie and Catriona Ruane both doing extremely well. Margaret Ritchie said to be doing well right across the constituency. UUP Deputy leader John McCallister says UKIP doing much better than expected in Kilkeel but transferring back to him and Jim Wells of the DUP.

1230 Anna Lo of Alliance thinks they have taken votes from the UUP and picked up votes in the Castlereagh area. Too early to say if she's topped the poll in South Belfast.

1228 Gareth Gordon says Naomi Long of the Alliance Party is hopeful they will take a second seat in east Belfast.

1223 Gareth Gordon says DUP also confident of taking three seats in Strangford, and are not ruling out a fourth, but it is too early to say.

1222 Gareth Gordon says DUP are confident of taking three seats in North Down.

Gareth Gordon
1220 BBC NI's Gareth Gordon believes he will be at Newtownards Leisure Centre for a very long time. Verification still ongoing, he says counting might not start until 3pm.

1218 One election candidate was refused admission to the east Belfast count because she didn't have the correct identification. Dawn Purvis told her followers on Twitter a short time ago that she was going home to collect her passport.

1216 BBC's Shane Harrison in South Down says verification still going on but John McAllister of the UUP says it'll be very tight as to whether he holds onto the last seat.

1215 BBC NI's Julian Fowler says ballot verification already behind schedule in Omagh.

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1209 With verification delays etc, Will Leitch tweets Martin NcGuinness of SF not expected at the Mid Ulster count until mid to late afternoon.

1206 Here are the first statistics of the day. In the last assembly election back in 2007, the DUP won 36 seats in the assembly with 30.1% of the vote. Sinn Fein took 28 seats, with 26.2%, while the Ulster Unionists took 18 seats with 14.9%. The SDLP won 16 seats with 15.2% and the Alliance Party took seven seats with 5.2% of votes. The Green Party won one seat with 1.7% while the PUP also took one seat with 0.6% of the overall vote. One independent was elected, and smaller parties and independents received a combined 6.1% of the total vote.

1204 If you look to the right of this page, you'll see several ways to contact us with your comments. You can fill in the form to email us, and you can follow us on Twitter @bbcnivote2011. We'll be keeping an eye on tweets using the #ae11 hashtag and all the constituency hashtags as well. Click here for a list of all the various Twitter hashtags as well as the Twitter accounts of our team of political correspondents.

1201 Television coverage begins in earnest at 1500 BST, and we'll be streaming it on this page so prepare to refresh this page around then, should you wish to stay with us all day. We're in it for the long haul, with plenty of comprehensive programming coming up over the next few days across TV, radio and online. Click here for more information so you can plan your viewing and listening activities over the weekend.

1200 Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Northern Ireland Assembly election results as they come in. Counting of votes began this morning at 0900 BST, and it's thought the first results will emerge around 1500 BST.



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NI Assembly election results as they happened
07 May 11 |  N Ireland Politics

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