EHere is some news! For the first time since the partition of Ireland in 1921, a national party in favor of the island’s reunification came out on top in Northern Ireland. Not just any national party: Sinn Fin has long been regarded by many as the political wing of the Provisional IRA.
Under the 1998 peace agreement, Sinn Fin is now entitled to claim to be the head of a two-tier executive known as Good Friday, while its main rival, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – and its ally for fifteen years – will be seeking a deputy prime minister to complicate matters. In fact, both positions are equal. The posts of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister were a means of concealing the fact that power-sharing does not rule alone. Sinn Fin has not wasted any opportunity to point out that these positions are equal, but now that it has come first, he wants to believe in this fabrication itself.
Sinn Fin came in first but did not make any progress in terms of seats. It became the first party to have the DUP resign from the outgoing executive in protest of the Northern Irish Brexit protocol. [qui maintient la province britannique dans le marché unique et l’union douanière européenne]It lost about 7%, losing three members of the legislature, two seats less than Sinn Fin, one seat more than in the previous legislature.
In terms of the number of seats, the biggest winner was the Non-Nomination Alliance Party, which more than doubled the number of elected representatives from eight to seventeen. Some polls conducted in the last days of the campaign led to an alliance with the DUP, but even if this formation came second, it would not be able to claim one of the two most important positions in the executive. Under the St Andrews Agreement of 2006 – negotiations between the British and Irish governments, Sinn Fin and the DUP – alliance partners could only come from the major formations classified as “nationalist”, “unionist” or “other”. The Alliance Party is proud to be in the “other” category, but it does not have the seats or allies needed to form a majority.
A strange mind may say that the sworn enemies, Sinn Fin and the DUP, have decided to give themselves a lasting advantage at St Andrews.
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