Results from the Northern Ireland Assembly election have rewarded the rivals who jointly lead the British territory's power-sharing government: the Protestants of the Democratic Unionists and the Catholics of Sinn Fein.

Saturday's conclusion to a two-day ballot count left the Democratic Unionists on top with 38 seats, an identical result to the 2011 election. The Irish nationalist Sinn Fein had hoped to overtake their pro-British adversaries but instead lost one seat to retain 28.

The result leaves the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein sharing control of the 108-member assembly.

The largest parties on each side of the societal divide receive the lion's share of posts in Northern Ireland's cross-community administration. That five-party coalition has governed Northern Ireland in relative stability for the past nine years.