Assembly Election

Arlene Foster tops the poll in Fermanagh South Tyrone

Arlene Foster got 8,801 first preference votes

DUP leader Arlene Foster has topped the poll in Fermanagh & South Tyrone with 8,801 first preference votes.

It was the first time she was contesting an election since being elected as the party's first female leader.

She was however the only candidate elected on the first count with her party colleague Maurice Morrow and Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew just missing out on the quota - which stands at 6,740.

It was almost midnight before the first preference votes were known in this constituency last time around.

But after the calamity of 2011, when a table in the count hall fell and several damp ballots had to be dried by a hand dryer, things are running smoothly this year.

For Michelle Gildnernew, her first preference tally of 6,614 will be seen by her support as just desserts after she was controversially left out when the party initially selected its candidates for the constituency.

Sinn Fein has fielded four runners in this race and are expected to see three elected comfortably.

And with Maurice Morrow just waiting to mop up second preferences from his running mate, that leaves just one more seat to scrap for.

It will be well into tomorrow before we get the final picture, and while Richie McPhillips' 4,014 first preference votes is impressive, without a party colleague on the ballot paper, it is unclear where he can get transfers.

Instead, it will likely come down to which of the two UUP candidates, Alastair Patterson or Rosemary Barton, will have enough to squeeze through in a constituency that is traditionally considered a stronghold for the party.

Assembly Election

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