Militants from both sides of Northern Ireland's religious divide won election to the Northern Ireland new assembly yesterday.

The initial results from Wednesday's balloting sharply dimmed the prospects that the new assembly might bring an end to the civil violence here.

Gerry Adams, a leader of the outlawed Irish Republican Army's legal political front, Sinn Fein, which scored surprising gains, and his firebrand rival, the Rev. Ian Paisley, both won election to the 78-member assembly.

London has designed the assembly plan as a way of bringing the minority Catholic population into the political process so that the British Army eventually could get out of Northern Ireland.

But both moderate and extremist Catholic candidates have refused to take their seats in the assembly, and the Protestants have refused to share power.

Adams said the vote was "a victory for the Republican struggle" to end British rule in Northern Ireland, where Protestants outnumber Catholics by 2 to 1. Another Sinn Fein winner was Owen Carron, the member of the British Parliament chosen to succeed IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands.

Paisley easily won in North Antrim, heartland of Protestant militancy with 9,231 votes.

In early results, the Protestant Official Unionist Party took 13 seats, Paisley's Democratic Unionists 8, the moderate Roman Catholic Social Democratic and Labor Party 6, Sinn Fein 3 and non-sectarian Alliance Party 3.

The final result will not be known until this evening.