As counts entered the second day of the Northern Ireland general election, Sinn Féin led the poll with 29% of the first preference vote and is on course to become the largest party in Stormont.
Mary Lou McDonald, President of the Inn Féin, and Michelle O’Neill, Vice President, arrived at the Belfast Count Center earlier amid a media frenzy. Ms O’Neill led the survey in Mid-Ulster.
The DUP received 21.3 percent of the first preference votes – a 7 percent drop since the last general election in 2017.
The leader of the DUP, Mr Donaldson, was elected in the Lagan Valley, while the leader of the Alliance, Naomi Long, on a good day for her party, which increased its share of the first preference votes by over 4 percent to 13.5 percent and thus third largest, the party-led election in East Belfast. At +5 percent, TÜV recorded the largest increase since 2017 after receiving 7.7 percent of the preferential votes.
Some candidates have had to wait a long time to find out whether or not they were elected, with the count set to go into a second day at all three centers when transfers are totaled.
Among those who could start sweating over the position are Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beattie and Green Party NI’s Clare Bailey, who are under pressure to retain their seats.
Notable eliminations so far include the DUP’s Peter Weir in Strangford, the stalwart UUP’s Roy Beggs in East Antrim and the SDLP’s Dolores Kelly in Upper Bann.
Follow our live coverage here, courtesy of our colleagues at our sister publication, The Belfast Telegraph:
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/northern-ireland-election-2022-sinn-fein-tops-first-preference-votes-as-counting-continues-on-saturday-41620570.html Northern Ireland Election 2022: Sinn Féin leads first preference votes as count resumes on Saturday