Sinn Fin becomes the most powerful force
The U.S. seeks to share power in Northern Ireland
05/09/2022 15:53 (Updated)
Sinn Fin, who seeks reunification with Ireland, is for the first time becoming the strongest political force in Northern Ireland. As stipulated in the Good Friday Pact – the United States demands a devolution of power. But the pro-British DUP has a condition.
Following the victory of Irish nationalist Sinn Fin in the local elections in Northern Ireland, the US government has called on Protestant and Catholic politicians in the British provinces to share power under the Good Friday Pact. A State Department spokesman said in Washington on Saturday (local time) that he was urging political leaders in Northern Ireland to form a new government.
For the first time in the centennial history of the British province, Sinn Fin won the local elections. The pro-British DUP conceded defeat in the election. Sinn Fin’s leading candidate Michelle O’Neill has spoken of the beginning of a “new era”. The 45-year-old is set to become the first local government leader to advocate for reunification with the Republic of Ireland.
However, Jeffrey Donaldson, head of the Protestant Unionist DUP party, confirmed that his party would not join a united government in the province with Sinn Fin until the dispute over the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol was resolved. He accused the European Union and the British government in London of using Northern Ireland as a political pawn. He attributed the rise in food prices in Northern Ireland to the provisions on the province’s special status in the 2019 Brexit deal between London and Brussels, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The BBC reports that the vote count for the Northern Irish Parliament has ended this morning. Sinn Fൻin, the Catholic-Republican party, won 27 mandates. The DUP is trailing by 25 seats. The Alliance, which seeks to end the dispute between proponents and opponents of the unification of the two parts of Ireland, won 17 seats – more than double that of the last election. The moderate union UP won nine seats. Eight candidates were elected to the Social Democratic SDLP.
The agreement stipulates the sharing of power
The Good Friday Agreement was concluded in 1998 to end the violent conflict between pro – British Protestants and Catholics fighting for independence from London. It provides for the sharing of power in the British Provinces by the two largest parties in the respective factions. Nearly 3,500 people have been killed in three decades of conflict in Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fin was formerly a political wing of the Paramilitary Irish Republican Army (IRA), and is committed to holding a referendum on the reunification of British Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. However, in the campaign for local elections, the party put this concern behind it and focused on social issues such as rising cost of living. O’Neill has now announced a “healthy discussion” about Irish reunification.
(This article was first published on Sunday, May 08, 2022.)
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