Alliance’s Stewart Dickson says it would have been “quite an upset” if the party had lost its seat in East Antrim.
Following the elimination of his running mate Danny Donnelly after nine counts, Mr Dickson finally passed the quota and retained his Stormont seat.
“I think it would have been quite an upset if we hadn’t retained our seat in East Antrim,” Mr Dickson said. “I’m clearly disappointed for my colleague Danny Donnelly who put up an incredible fight. He is the future of the Alliance Party in East Antrim and I look forward to continuing to work with him for all of the people in East Antrim.”
He added: “My personal vote (3,115) is up on the last Assembly election which is pleasing, especially considering all the ups and downs that we’ve faced over the last five years - a great deal sadly of intimidation, death threats, the office being burned. Hopefully all that is in the past and we are facing into a period of getting down to doing the real job of delivering legislation and taking Northern Ireland forward.”
David Hilditch, Gordon Lyons (both DUP) and Roy Beggs (UUP) have also been elected, but four other hopefuls are now nervously awaiting their fate.
Counting is complete on stage 10 of the process in the East Antrim constituency.
The competition for the last two seats is a close four-way battle between Sinn Fein veteran Oliver McMullan, the UUP’s John Stewart, DUP man Alastair Ross and UKIP candidate Noel Jordan.