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Election result sees DUP and Sinn Féin rule the roost in Northern Ireland

The election result could see the DUP take on the role of kingmakers in propping up a Conservative government.

General Election 2017 declaration DUP leader Arlene Foster. Source: Niall Carson/PA

Updated 10.00

THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY could turn to the Democratic Unionist Party to form a government.

As results come in from the UK general election, forecasts suggest that a Conservative-DUP coalition could be one of the few combinations able to make over a 326-seat majority.

Latest forecasts have Theresa May’s Conservative Party ending with 318 seats, leaving a hung parliament.

The DUP has claimed two extra seats in the North, up to ten, while Sinn Féin climbed from four seats to seven.

The election may have been something of a triumph for the North’s two largest parties – however it has been nothing short of a disaster for their nearest rivals on both sides of the political divide, the UUP and the SDLP.

Both have seen their seat count wiped clean at Westminster, seeing them join Ukip in gaining the ignominious accolade of returning no seats whatsoever – the UUP losing  its two seats and the SDLP its three.

For the moderate nationalist SDLP, the loss of former party leader Mark Durkan’s seat was an especial blow.

All of which leaves both the DUP and Sinn Féin sitting pretty in utterly dominant positions in the North. For the DUP, the role of kingmaker may be one the party tries on for size – its 10 seats are likely to be the most obvious avenue for the Conservatives to stay in power.

Speaking to the BBC this morning, Simon Hamilton MLA said that the party would wait to see what the final maths was, but accepted his party could hold a lot of power.

“Clearly our votes are going to be incredibly important in the new parliament.

“First and foremost we will look to achieve our goals in respect to getting the best deal for Northern Ireland. We’re also very mindful of our responsibilities in the national political scene and this is a very difficult time for the United Kingdom.”

He added that the party wanted a good deal for Northern Ireland in Brexit negotiations, adding that the border issue was one the party wanted to see reflected in talks. He said that the party wanted a “frictionless” border.

Hamilton, however, would not be drawn on the question of whether the DUP would consider a formal coalition or would support a working Conservative minority.

Additional reporting Cianan Brennan

Read: Liveblog: Theresa May’s gamble fails as Tories lose seats but will remain as biggest party

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