Counting gets underway in the Northern Ireland Stormont Assembly elections this morning.
Polls suggest Sinn Féin will become the largest party in the North for the first time ever, taking the position of First Minister.
It remains unclear whether unionist parties will agree to nominate a Deputy First Minister should Sinn Féin win – putting the future of power-sharing into doubt.
It is believed turnout was around 55% yesterday, down nearly 10% on the last poll in 2017.
Polls in the run-up to the vote suggested Sinn Féin would win less votes than it did in 2017 but still become the largest party due to a collapse in support for the DUP.
Meanwhile, the centre ground is expected to benefit with a strong rise in support for the Alliance Party.
Ballot boxes will be opened to be sorted and counted from 8am this morning, with the first results expected early tomorrow afternoon.
While the First Minister and Deputy First Minister positions in Northern Ireland have exactly the same standing and powers, it would be a huge symbolic win for Sinn Féin if Deputy Leader Michelle O'Neill becomes First Minister.
With neither the DUP or UUP confirming if they'll nominate a Deputy First Minister should Sinn Féin win it may be some time before we see a government here despite yesterday’s vote.
DUP Leader Jeffrey Donaldson has already said the prospect of Sinn Féin being the region’s largest party is a ‘problem’ and warned that the DUP will not enter power-sharing unless the Northern Ireland protocol is ditched.
The Alliance Party, which polls suggest has the same support as the DUP, has said it would be ‘obscene’ for MLAs to continue to take their salaries if the Executive was not back up and running.
Michelle O’Neill has said a failure to return to power-sharing directly after an election would be “unfathomable”.
Sean Defoe in Belfast.