Alliance Party leader Naomi Long has said the surge in support for her party in the European election has been a surprise in terms of scale, but not entirely out of the blue.
The party enjoyed an upturn in votes at the recent local government elections and saw its representation jump by 65% - going from 32 seats to 53.
“Suddenly people outside Greater Belfast realised that if they voted Alliance, they could get Alliance,” Mrs Long said.
Now, the party will also have an MEP in Brussels, after a showing that saw them take more than 100,000 first preference votes.
Mrs Long told UTV that she felt key elements of success at the ballot boxes this time around were a clear message on the issue of Brexit and a further departure from traditional “Green and Orange”.
“We were very clear that we want to remain and that we believe a people’s vote is the right way to go about that,” Mrs Long said.
Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson topped the poll on first preference votes, but the DUP’s Diane Dodds was first over the line after transfers were counted.
- Alliance’s Naomi Long on European election success