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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 27 January 2021
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All 108 Northern assembly seats filled as UUP leader labels Sinn Féin as 'scum'

Negotiations to form an executive are expected to get underway as the Ulster Unionist Party leader comes under fire for comments about Sinn Féin at a count centre.

TUV leader Jim Allister during a radio interview on the second day of counting in Ballymena, Co Antrim.
TUV leader Jim Allister during a radio interview on the second day of counting in Ballymena, Co Antrim.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire/Press Association Images

NEGOTIATIONS ARE EXPECTED to get underway shortly to form a new coalition executive in Northern Ireland after all 108 assembly seats were filled overnight.

The results left the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin as the dominant forces in the region.

Both parties gained seats with the DUP getting 38 seats and Sinn Féin winning 29 seats.

The Ulster Unionist Party won 16 seats, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) has 14 seats, the Alliance Party gained one seat and now has eight. the Green party has one seat, Traditional Unionist Voice has one seat as does the sole independent elected David McClarty.

The election did not pass off without controversy with the Belfast Telegraph reporting that Ulster Unionist Party leader Tom Elliot has been heavily criticised for labelling Sinn Féin as “scum” during a speech at the count in the Fermanagh-South Tyrone constituency:

Ahead of negotiations on forming a coalition, DUP leader Peter Robinson dedicated his party’s success to murdered police constable Ronan Kerr, reports the BBC.

Kerr was killed in a car bomb in Omagh last month.

Robinson will be expected to form a coalition executive with Sinn Féin (SF) where he will retain his position as first minister with SF’s Martin McGuinness as his deputy.

Under the governing system in place in Northern Ireland, the DUP is expected to get four ministerial posts with Sinn Féin getting three, the Ulster Unionists get one and the Alliance Party will also get one in the new executive.

Under the rules, the justice ministry is currently assigned to the Alliance Party and it is likely the party to retain control of this post until it is reviewed next year, RTÉ’s Tommie Gorman reported earlier.

The election was also notable for a low turnout and for the problems that delayed counting across the region.

Read: UK rejects voting reform as Scottish nationalists make gains >

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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