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Dublin: 14 °C Friday 23 August, 2019

DUP and Sinn Féin in command as North's 'shambolic' assembly count resumes

There have been widespread delays in counting across the region with less than half of the assembly’s seats filled so far.

Michelle McIlveen of the DUP who topped the poll in the Strangford constituency is kissed by a supporter.
Michelle McIlveen of the DUP who topped the poll in the Strangford constituency is kissed by a supporter.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST Party and Sinn Féin look set to remain the biggest parties in the Northern Ireland assembly as counting resumes this morning with still more than half of the seats to be filled.

The delay in filling seats in the 108 member assembly has been described as ‘shambolic’ by the Belfast Telegraph with anger growing in the region that it is taking so long to fill seats.

The paper reports a series of embarrassing blunders where in one count centre votes for the assembly and the alternative vote referendum were mixed up.

Meanwhile in Omagh some ballot papers had to be dried out with a hairdryer after getting wet. Elsewhere, a table stacked with voting papers collapsed and further delayed the process.

BBC News reports that as of 11.33am this morning, 50 seats have been filled so far with the DUP on 22, Sinn Féin on 15, the Ulster Unionist Party on six, Social Democratic and Labour Party on four and the Alliance on three.

Last night it was reported that the North was set for an historically low turnout of around 55 percent, a figu e that could put pressure on the smaller parties in the assembly.

It now appears likely that DUP leader Peter Robinson will retain his position as first minister in Northern Ireland with Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness as his deputy.

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Hugh O'Connell

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