Sinn Féin, the main party in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time in its history

Sinn Féin has officially become this Saturday the party with the most seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly, with 27 seats, in a symbolic feat for Irish nationalism that could place its leader, Michelle O’Neill, at the head of stormont.

The formation thus advanced the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP – 24 seats), the loyalists to the British crown who had held the position of Prime Minister of Northern Ireland since it was established in 1998 after a peace agreement after decades of sectarian violence .

The Alliance Party, a liberal formation that emerged in the seventies as an alternative to the large blocs, has established itself as a third way with 17 seats in the chamber, according to the results collected by the ‘Irish Times’, with only of two seats to complete of the total of 90 that comprise the Assembly.

Turnout in the electoral vote has been 63.5%, just slightly below the 64.8% turnout in the last election in 2017.

O’Neill has stated that the results “herald a new era” for Northern Ireland. “I believe that we are all presented with an opportunity to reconfigure social relations on the basis of fairness, equality and social justice,” he said.

“Regardless of my religious, political or social background, my commitment is to make politics work,” he added.

Next, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald has called for the immediate restoration of an executive at Stormont after months of political bickering. “I hope that Michelle O’Neill is nominated as prime minister, and I ask everyone to take a deep breath so that they realize the enormous responsibility that we all share,” she has indicated in comments collected by DPA.

It must be remembered that the DUP caused the collapse of the government agreement in Northern Ireland in protest against the Brexit protocol and promised not to return to the Executive until their demands were met.

For her part, the leader of the Alliance Party, Naomi Long, has declared that without a government in Northern Ireland nothing can be achieved and has asked that her formation have a presence in a future executive. “I think that given all the challenges we face, people are not going to forgive us if we waste this opportunity. We have to get into government,” she said.

For its part, the DUP led by Jeffrey Donaldson will comfortably maintain its position as the largest unionist party despite a drop in its overall percentage of votes.

“The unionist vote is still strong and I am very pleased with how the DUP has fared in our constituencies,” he said before avoiding any statement about the future of the government. “We will cross all the bridges when we reach them”, he has limited himself to saying.

By Editor

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