Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and Irish republican Sinn Fein party member Michelle O Neill (2L) stands with Sinn Fein party President Mary Lou McDonald (2R) after the Magherafelt Meadow bank sports centre in Magherafelt, Co Londonderry, on May 7, 2022. AFP
With almost all votes counted, Sinn Fein has secured 27 of the assembly's 90 seats. The Democratic Unionist Party has 24. The historic win means Sinn Fein is entitled to the post of first minister in Belfast for the first time since Northern Ireland was founded as a Protestant-majority state in 1921.
Sinn Fein seeks a united Ireland and has long been linked to the Irish Republican Army. But the party kept unification out of the spotlight this year during a campaign that was dominated by more immediate concerns, namely the skyrocketing cost of living.