The hardline Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) is to contest the majority of the north's 18 constituencies in next May's Assembly elections, the party's leader has said.

Jim Allister admitted he was very disappointed with the TUV's performance in the Westminster elections earlier this year and had considered his political future and that of his party over the summer.

"Of course I evaluated things, but, ultimately, the situation that brought the TUV into existence – that terrorists in government and the absence of an opposition at Stormont is wrong – still prevails. A role challenging those things remains for us."

In the Westminster election, Allister ran against the DUP's Ian Paisley jnr in North Antrim, securing only 7,114 votes to his rival's 19,672. However, a repeat performance would guarantee his election to Stormont.

Allister said the Assembly elections, in which proportional representation is used, would benefit a new, small party like his more than the Westminster elections with its first-past-the-post system.

"Funds are tight but we plan to stand in the majority of constituencies," he said.