Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has told UTV his party won't enter the Executive until issues around the Northern Ireland Protocol have been resolved.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has been elected as an MLA for Lagan Valley following the first count.
Speaking after the result, Sir Jeffrey said: "I am delighted with our first preference result in Lagan Valley.
"In terms of the overall picture it is much too early to say what the final outcome might be.
"I think it is going to be very tight at the end as to who will emerge as the largest party.
"One of the key messages for me is that unionism simply can't afford the divisions that exist."
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson added: "Let's see what the final outcome is.
"There is all to play for.
"The DUP is very much in the game at the moment.
"I have made it clear we need the government to take decisive action on the protocol.
"Words are not enough."
ASSEMBLY ELECTION RESULTS CENTRE
Welcome to the UTV Assembly Election online results hub. The 2022 poll looks set to be one of the most historic in years and you can see all the results unfold below as the counting progresses.
Over 1.3million people were eligible to cast their vote on Thursday to elect the 90 MLAs across 18 constituencies in the Assembly.
Opinion polls have predicted a shake-up in the make-up of the Assembly.
In 2017, the DUP won 28 seats at the last Assembly elections in 2017, just ahead of Sinn Fein which returned 27 MLAs. Next was the SDLP with 12 seats, the Ulster Unionist Party with 10 seats, Alliance with eight seats, the Green Party with two seats while People Before Profit and the TUV had one MLA each. This year the DUP is running 30 candidates, while Sinn Fein is running 34. The UUP is running 27 candidates, the Alliance Party 24. The SDLP is running 22, TUV is running 19 candidates, the Green Party is running 18 and People Before Profit 12, as is Aontu - while the Workers Party is running six candidates and the PUP three candidates. The Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) and the Socialist Party are each running two candidates, while the Northern Ireland Conservatives, Cross Community Labour Alliance (CCLA), Resume NI and Heritage Party are each running one candidate. And there are 24 independent candidates.