In this week’s election in Northern Ireland, the Nationalist Sinn Fin Party won the most votes, the most in the history of the country.
According to the final count released on Saturday (7/5), Sinn Féin won 29% of the vote and 27 of the 90 seats that make up the Belfast Assembly (Democratic Unionist Party, DUP, came in second with 25 seats). . Sinn Féin, once a political member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), won the election with 21.3% of the vote against the majority Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the liberal center, the Allianz Party, with 13.5%. %
Thus, Michelle O’Neill, the leader of the United Kingdom, will try to run for office.
No nationalist politician has held this position since the founding of Northern Ireland after Ireland’s Partition Treaty of 1921.
Sinn Fin’s victory will not automatically give O’Neill the post of chief minister, and he will not be held accountable until the DUP agrees to appoint a deputy chief minister.
Under the devolved system of government in Northern Ireland, the posts of Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister are to be shared between the largest trade union and nationalist parties in the United Kingdom.
The posts of Chief Minister and Deputy Minister have equal powers in the region despite their names. To form a government, both ministers need the support of each other.
“The Beginning of a New Era”
Michelle O’Neill promised to work with delegates from all walks of life “through union, not secession”.
However, he also said that it was “the beginning of a new era”. Sinn Fin’s main objective was to secede from the United Kingdom and reunite with Ireland.
The historic victory of the nationalists comes after a political upheaval in Northern Ireland, where the DUP, which has ruled for two decades, ousted its own prime minister over the Brexit protocol for Northern Ireland.
This protocol, which maintains the internal division of the trade unionists, is an agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union to prevent the return of a physical border to the island of Ireland due to Brexit.
Referendum to reunite Ireland?
Sinn Fin’s main objective was to leave Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and become a nation with the Republic of Ireland.
This does not mean, however, that the Nationalist Party’s electoral victory will facilitate the holding of a referendum on the separation of the territory from the United Kingdom and the Irish reunification in the short term.
The Northern Ireland Act of 1998, following the so-called Good Friday Treaty, established that Northern Ireland would be part of the United Kingdom and that it would not be terminated without the consent of the majority of the people of the North. Ireland.
It also mandates that the Northern Ireland Secretariat (Ministry) in London agree to hold a referendum if the majority of Northern Ireland voters appear to want to join Ireland.
Analysts say nationalists could start arguing over the recent election victory, with more voters in Northern Ireland backing Irish reunification to hold a referendum.
But in reality, the share of nationalist votes has fallen since 2017 and this shows that there is no majority preference in favor of a referendum.
Polls also did not show a majority in favor of a reunited Ireland.
The most recent of these, published in April, states that only one-third of the Northern Irish population supports leaving the UK and joining Ireland.
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