The DUP leader Arlene Foster has been re-appointed as First Minister for the next five years as the new Assembly meets for the first time today.
Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness was also returned as Deputy First Minister.
Exactly one week after voters took to the polls, 108 MLAs signed the roll of membership at Parliament Buildings earlier today, 29 of whom are newly-elected.
Among those signing on for the first time were former local councillors Richie McPhillips (SDLP) and Rosemary Barton of the Ulster Unionists alongside returning Sinn Fein MLAs Sean Lynch and Michelle Gildernew plus Maurice Morrow and Ms Foster of the DUP. Ms Gildernew is back at Stormont as an MLA for the first time since resigning in 2012 due to rules against double jobbing.
Ms Foster topped the poll in Fermanagh and South Tyrone after the first count in Omagh last Friday, taking 8,801 first preference votes.
Speaking after her re-election Ms Foster said she was” incredibly proud” to be First Minister and “determined to keep Northern Ireland moving forward”.
She added: “We stand on the cusp of an new exciting era for Northern Ireland. I want everyone who lives here to be proud of this vibrant, beautiful part of the world. This positive ethos will be at the cornerstone of everything I do over the next five years”.
Her party colleague Lord Morrow offered his congratulations to the First Minister: “I know Arlene Foster will bring much good to Northern Ireland. She will be a great ambassador for this part of the United Kingdom.”
Mr McGuinness also congratulated Ms Foster on her appointment. He said that while they have had a good start since her initial appointment to the role in January “there is more work to be done”.
He said: “The challenge for Arlene and myself, and other ministers, is to continue with the good start, to recognise the importance of working together, building new relationships, putting the past three years to the dustbin of history and moving on to deliver for the people we represent”.
A new speaker, principal deputy speaker and deputy speakers have also been elected. Sinn Fein’s Mitchel McLaughlin, who announced his retirement before the election, has been replaced by the DUP’s Robin Newton.
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