As the long count of ballots recorded in the ballot boxes on Thursday to determine the 90 elected members of the local assembly comes to an end, almost the final result gives Sinn Fin more seats than its unionist rival, the DUP, loyal to the British crown. . Michelle O’Neill, 45, leader of the Northern Ireland’s Sinn Fin, hailed the move as a “very important moment of change” as it entered a “new era”. “I will provide leadership that celebrates and embraces diversity, ensuring the rights and equality of those who have been excluded, discriminated against or neglected in the past.”
In Belfast, Sinn Fein won 27 of the 88 seats announced, while the DUP won 24 seats so far. He also received the highest number of first-preference votes (29% vs. 21.3%). The DUP, through its leader Jeffrey Donaldson, has already acknowledged that Sinn Fin is on the verge of becoming the new ruling party in the legislature. According to the 1998 peace agreement, the government should be led jointly by nationalists and unionists.
Jeffrey Donaldson insisted that “I want a government in Northern Ireland, but it must be based on a sustainable basis”, denouncing the Northern Irish Protocol discussed with London and the EU as “damaging” the economy of the province and its “political stability”. The United States on Saturday responded by asking Northern Irish officials to share the powers stipulated in the peace agreement.
Edwin Boots, another party tenor, warned that the talks would take “weeks or even months if a little luck”, while Brandon Lewis, the British minister in charge of the province, is expected to arrive in Belfast soon. “People talked and now our job is to show. I hope others will do the same, ”said Michelle O’Neill. She called for a “healthy debate” on the future of Northern Ireland, saying the new executive should prioritize tackling the rising cost of living, and after a campaign, she insisted on social and social issues rather than constitutional issues.
In a statement, Brandon Lewis called on all parties to form a “fully functional” executive “as soon as possible”. Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin has stressed that “all political parties and elected officials must serve the interests of all the people of Northern Ireland”.
Boris Johnson setback
“Sinn Fin’s victory benefits from the weakness of unionism […] It does not represent a radical change in Northern Ireland views in favor of reunification, ”said Katie Howard, a political scientist at Queen’s University in Belfast. It notes the split in the union vote and the progress of the Centralist Alliance Party (17 seats). Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, where local elections took place on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party suffered a major setback due to “partygate” and inflation. It lost hundreds of seats and a dozen councils to Labor and the Liberal Democrats.
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