The performance of Alliance candidates has been the big early talking point at the Lisburn and Castlereagh election count, with the party topping the poll in all four of the four DEAs counted so far.
Owen Gawith (Downshire West), David Honeyford (Killultagh), Martin Gregg (Castlereagh East) and Aaron McIntrye (Downshire East) came out on top in their electoral wards leaving even senior Alilance figures scratching their heads wondering where the additional votes had come from.
Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn said that won’t be entirely clear until the “number crunching” had been done post-election, but believes it could be from an unusually high number of people who don’t usually vote in council elections.
“I’ve never known a day like it,” Mr Lunn said.
With four of the seven DEAs in the process of being counted, the other candidates deemed elected so far are: Tim Morrow (Alliance); Sharon Skillen (DUP); Caleb McCready (DUP); Andrew Gowan (DUP); James Baird (UUP); Alex Swann (UUP); Ross McLernon (UUP) and Uel Mackin (DUP).
Early casualties include DUP councillor Janet Gray and Alex Redpath of the Ulster Unionists.