With a long count of ballots being put into the ballot boxes on Thursday to nominate 90 elected members of the local assembly, the partial results give Sinn Féin a slight edge over its unionist rival DUP, which is favored to retain within the British crown. Is. It is the first time in the province’s hundred-year history that it is under tension due to Brexit.
“Today is a very important moment of change”, with the entry of “a new era”, the leader of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill, from her constituency of Mid Ulster, promising to cross divisions. Welcomed. “I will provide inclusive leadership that celebrates diversity, that guarantees rights and equality for those who have been ostracized, discriminated or ignored in the past.”
A victory would propel Michelle O’Neill to the position of leader of the local government, which is to be run jointly by Nationalists and Federalists under a 1998 peace deal.
In Belfast, the count so far favors the British crown, with 23 of the 77 declared seats giving Sinn Féin 23, compared to 21 for the DUP’s own unionist rival.
The Nationalist Party has already received the highest first-preference vote (29% against 21.3%) and should not reverse the position at the end of the count.
DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has admitted on Sky News that Sinn Fein is set to become the new major party in the assembly.
But negotiations for government formation promise to be difficult and the risk of paralysis looms large, with federalists refusing to join the government as long as post-Brexit customs controls remain in place, which they believe United’s integrity is threatened. Kingdom. United.
“I want a government in Northern Ireland, but it must be based on stable foundations”, with Mr Donaldson insisting that the Northern Irish Protocol “harms the economy” of the province and its “politics of stability”.
“months” of negotiations
Another party heavyweight, Edwin Poots, warned that talks would take “expected weeks, or even months”, according to Northern Irish politicians, as British provincial minister Brandon Lewis is expected in Belfast on Monday.
Michelle O’Neill told reporters, “People have spoken up and now our job is to come out. I hope others do the same.”
He called for a “healthy debate” on the future of Northern Ireland, saying the new executive should prioritize tackling the rising cost of living, following a campaign in which he emphasized social and social rather than constitutional issues.
Marked by three decades of bloody unrest between federalists and separatists and then the turmoil caused by Brexit, Northern Ireland plunged back into uncertainty in February, with the resignation of unionist Prime Minister Paul Givhan, unhappy with the situation in the post-Brexit situation.
Analysis for AFP Katie Hayward, political scientist, “Sinn Féin’s success capitalizes on the weakness of federalism at a time of real change for the UK after Brexit. It does not represent a sea change in views in favor of reunification in Northern Ireland.” is.” Queen’s University in Belfast.
She also notes the fracture of the federalist vote and the progress of the centrist Alliance Party.
blow to boris johnson
Elsewhere in the United Kingdom, where local elections were held on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party suffered a severe blow, weakening its position, weakened by “partygate” and inflation. They lost hundreds of seats and a dozen councils to Labor and the Liberal Democrats.
Boris Johnson has said he is determined to stay in power. But these poor results weakened him and, worried about the 2024 legislative elections, pushed deputies from his camp to question the advisability of continuing to support him.
To explain, Boris Johnson will have to present “a real plan of action” on Tuesday during the traditional throne speech, where the government will unveil its priorities in parliament, Open University political scientist Simon Asherwood said in an interview by AFP.
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