NI Assembly Elections 2016: Polling day has arrived

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Northern Ireland voters go to the polls today for what will be the fifth NI Assembly election to take place since the devolved assembly was established in 1998.

Each of the 18 Northern Ireland constituencies elects six Members of the Legislative Assembly resulting in a total of 108 MLAs

In North Antrim there are 15 candidates for the six seats available and as polling day approached candidates have been out on the streets and knocking on doors in the constituency which has some 78,000 voters.

The candidates are:- DUP - Paul Frew, Phillip Logan, David McIlveen, and Mervyn Storey.

UUP - Robin Swann and Andrew Wright.

TUV - Jim Allister and Timothy Gaston.

SDLP - Connor Duncan.

SF - Daithi McKay.

Green Party - Jennifer Breslin.

Conservative Party - James Simpson.

Northern Ireland Labour Representation Committee - Kathryn Johnston.

UKIP - Donna Anderson.

Alliance - Stephen McFarland.

North Antrim’s polling stations will open for the 2016 NI Assembly Election from 7.00am to 10.00pm this evening, with counting of votes expected to start on Friday morning with the North Antrim Count Centre located at the Seven Towers Leisure Centre.

Meanwhile, a total of 14 candidates are standing in South Antrim.

Four of the district’s current MLAs are bidding for re-election, namely the UUP’s Adrian Cochrane-Watson; the DUP’s Pam Cameron, Trevor Clarke, and Paul Girvan; and Alliance’s David Ford.

Sinn Féin’s current South Antrim MLA Mitchel McLaughlin is not seeking re-election and the party is instead putting forward Declan Kearney, Sinn Féin’s National Chairperson.

Also putting their names in the hat for consideration for one of the six seats are Steven Aiken (UUP), Richard Cairns (TUV), Helen Farley (Green), Robert Hill (UKIP), Roisin Lynch (SDLP), David McMaster (Independent), Paul Michael (UUP), and Mark Young (Conservative).

The results of the election are not expected until Friday, with counting for the South Antrim district getting underway at the Valley Leisure Centre on Friday morning.

There have been four elections since the devolution of the Northern Ireland Assembly with the last held in 2011.

As in the 2007 election, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin (SF) remained the two largest parties in the Assembly, with the DUP winning 38 and Sinn Féin winning 29 of the Assembly’s 108 seats in 2011.

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) won 16 seats, the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) 14 and the Alliance 8, while one seat each was won by the Green Party, Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) and an independent candidate.