Assembly Election

South Belfast: Sinn Féin's Máirtín Ó Muilleoir tops the poll

Sinn Féin's Máirtín Ó Muilleoir topped the poll in South Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell

SINN Féin's Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has been re-elected to the Stormont assembly after topping the poll in South Belfast.

The former finance minister was elected on the first count after receiving 7,610 first-preference votes – more than 400 votes above the quota of 7,176.

It's an increase of more than 2,000 on his vote last year. The former Belfast lord mayor was also the first South Belfast candidate elected in 2016, but only on the fifth count.

In a trend seen across the north, election turnout surged in South Belfast from 54.25 per cent last year to 63.96 per cent.

The SDLP's Claire Hanna received the second largest number of first-preferences with 6,559, while Alliance's Paula Bradshaw came third with 5,595.

The DUP's Christopher Stalford polled 4,529 followed by party colleague Emma Little Pengelly on 4,446.

Clare Bailey of the Green Party achieved 4,247 while Ulster Unionist candidate Michael Henderson notched up 3,863 first-preference votes.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 03/03/2017.Counting begins at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast on Friday for Belfast North, South East and West constituencies..A total of 90 seats are up for grabs across the 18 constituencies, with five MLAs to be returned in each - a reduction from six last time around..The snap election was called after the resignation of former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness over a botched heating scheme debacle..Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press.

It means the battle for the final seat looks likely to be between the Greens and the DUP – with the final result only expected to become clear overnight or on Saturday.

Alliance's Emmet McDonough-Brown polled 2,053 while the SDLP's Naomh Gallagher achieved 1,794.

People Before Profit's Pádraigín Mervyn received 760 votes, TUV's John Hiddleston 703, Cross Community Labour Alternative's Sean Burns 531, the Conservative Party's George Jabbour 200 and the Workers Party candidate Lily Kerr 163.

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