27/11/2003

First results announced for 2003 NI Assembly election

See Friday's Results Update

With a 23 of the counts in the Northern Ireland Assembly election declared by early evening, political commentators are in broad agreement that the vote for parties outside the four main groups have been squeezed and that realignment patterns within both the unionist and nationalist vote are becoming apparent.

Several SDLP candidates seats are in question as Sinn Fein have managed to improve both vote share and on the electoral management of the complex transferable vote process.

As expected the DUP have put pressure on several UUP candidates, but it is too early to predict if the small swing in votes to the DUP will have much if any overall impact on the number of seats for the two main Unionist parties.

The first stage results based on first preference votes above the relevant Single Transferrable Vote quota were announced this afternoon, some results are not expected until tomorrow, Friday November 28.

In the 2003 Assembly Election the 20 parties have fielded 256 candidates in the 18 constituencies for the 108 seats in the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly.

They will be placed online as each stage of the counts are declared.

(SP)

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