NI Assembly Election 2017

The final results in the NI Assembly election are in with all 90 MLAs elected and the DUP still the largest party with 28, but Sinn Féin having polled well with just one less MLA.

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New UUP leader to be chosen at April AGM

  • WATCH: Danny Kinahan on the hunt for a new UUP leader

A new Ulster Unionist leader will be chosen at the party’s AGM on 8 April, but MP Danny Kinahan has told UTV they are not just drifting in the meantime.

Mike Nesbitt tendered his resignation as UUP leader following a disastrous election for the party.

While he was returned to his Strangford seat, the party suffered big losses elsewhere – including senior representative Danny Kennedy and the likes of Sandra Overend and Jo-Anne Dobson.

The UUP is also no longer the third largest party at Stormont, having only secured 10 seats and falling behind the SDLP with their 12 MLAs.

Mr Nesbitt had said he would remain post until a successor could be decided and, on Sunday, Mr Kinahan confirmed that was the case.

“Mike Nesbitt is still there as the leader,” the UUP MP said.

“Yesterday, they sat down immediately as soon as they could after the election – they’ve got Tom Elliott leading the negotiations … No, we’re not drifting, but we’ve got a lot of work to do.”


DUP's approach 'woke a sleeping beast' - SF's Ó Donnghaile

  • The SDLP's Colin McGrath and Sinn Féin's Niall Ó Donnghaile on the state of affairs following the election results

Sinn Féin's Niall Ó Donnghaile has said the approach of Arlene Foster and her DUP party over recent months and years "awoke a sleeping beast".

While he did not attribute his party's success at the ballot box to the DUP, he said the increased nationalist turnout, with his party polling over 200,000, showed that "the notion of a perpetual or permanent unionist majority is now smashed".

The Seanad Éireann member went on to suggest that "if yesterday's result doesn't highlight the fundamental need for a change in approach and change in attitude from the DUP then nothing will".

He also reiterated that that Sinn Féin would not be going into government with the DUP while Arlene Foster remained leader.

Turnout in all areas increased this election, up from around 54% to almost 65% and Sinn Féin saw its first preference vote up 3.9% on last year's election. The DUP meanwhile saw their share of first preferences drop by 1.1%.

Colin McGrath of the SDLP seemed to concur on the issue at the heart of the election, saying: "I don't think this was an election where it was us versus Sinn Féin.

"I think this was an election against the arrogance of the DUP and I think that people exercised their mandates on that basis."

He added: "There is a greatly reduced DUP returning and I think they'll have some soul-searching to do."


Election 'shows desire for inclusive devolved government'

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The Northern Ireland Assembly election has shown the "clear desire by the overwhelming majority for inclusive, devolved government," according to the Secretary of State.

James Brokenshire made a statement on Saturday congratulating the 90 MLAs returned to Stormont.

"Everyone now has a shared responsibility to engage very closely and very intensively in the short period of time available to us to establish a new, strong, stable executive," he said.

Mr Brokenshire added that he would be speaking to party leaders later in the day, and keeping in contact with the Irish government as well.

Northern Ireland's politicians now have just three weeks to reach an agreement on a way forward at Stormont.

If they cannot do that, they could face either heading back to the polls - or a lengthy period of direct rule.

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