Saturday 4 March 2017

Sinn Fein Leads Majority In The Northern Ireland Election

Sinn Fein

Stormont's snap election has significantly altered the make-up of Northern Ireland's devolved Assembly, with nationalism making major strides at the expense of unionists.

In a dramatic shake-up, unionists have lost their long-enduring and highly symbolic overall majority in the chamber.

Mike Nesbitt, the Ulster Unionist leader, announced his resignation after a poor showing, while DUP leader and former first minister Arlene Foster will face intense scrutiny after her party fell below the threshold to trigger a contentious Stormont veto mechanism.

Having entered the election 10 seats ahead of Sinn Fein, the DUP saw that gap slashed to a solitary seat as the republican party's support surged.

The nationalist SDLP also fared better than many expected, replacing the UUP as the third largest party in the Assembly.

The results may be rendered moot if the main parties fail to a strike a deal to form a new powersharing executive within three weeks.

If that deadline passes, the Government would be obliged to call yet another snap election, but it may instead opt to put Stormont in cold storage and reintroduce direct rule.

The DUP emerged with 28 seats, Sinn Fein had 27, SDLP 12, the UUP 10, the Alliance Party eight, the Greens two, People Before Profit one, the Traditional Unionist Voice one and one independent unionist.

That leaves 40 unionists and 39 nationalist/republicans, with the remainder of the 90 MLAs affiliated to neither tradition.

Sinn Fein's northern leader Michelle O'Neill said: "I think it's a brilliant day for equality, I think it's a great day for democracy.

"The vote has increased. I think that is because people knew that action needed to be taken, they have had their say, we now need to get down to the business of fixing what's wrong and delivering for all citizens."



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