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06th May 2022

“A historic day” – Sinn Féin wins most first preference votes in Northern Ireland election

Stephen Porzio

Sinn Féin is on track to becoming Stormont’s largest party.

Sinn Féin has won the most first preference votes in the Northern Ireland Assembly election.

Though the counting for the 90 Stormont seats continues on Friday night (6 May), Sinn Féin is on track for its best-ever assembly election result and to becoming the largest party in Stormont.

It received 250,388 first preference votes, ahead of the DUP’s 184,002.

As of Friday night, also, Sinn Féin has won the most seats with 16 of the 31 declared.

Writing on Twitter, the party’s vice president Michelle O’Neill said it was “a historic day”, before adding: “We will work hard for everyone”.

Earlier in the day, O’Neill topped the poll in the Mid-Ulster constituency on the first count, earning 10,845 first preference votes.

In terms of other parties, Alliance leader Naomi Long was re-elected on the first count in the East Belfast constituency, as was DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson in the Lagan Valley constituency.

If Sinn Féin become the largest party after the election, it would mean that it would hold the office of the First Minister.

While the First Minister and Deputy First Minister serve as joint heads of the Northern Ireland Executive, Sinn Féin holding the top position would be a historic move as it would be the first nationalist party ever to do so.

Counting of the votes is expected to continue into Saturday.

Main image via Leah Farrell /