- BBC News World
In an unprecedented result, the nationalist Sinn Fein party won the largest number of votes in Friday’s elections in Northern Ireland.
According to the final count released on Saturday, Sinn Féin won 29% of the vote and 27 of the 90 seats that make up the Belfast Assembly (the Democratic Unionist Party, the DUP, came in second with 25 seats).
In this way, group leader Michelle O’Neill will present herself for the position Prime Minister In that country which is part of the United Kingdom.
No nationalist politician has ever held this position Since the nation’s founding after the Partition of Ireland Treaty of 1921.
Sinn Fein in the past was the political arm ofhe is Irish Republican Army (IRA) It was imposed in the elections of the Democratic Unionist Party, which received 21.3% of the vote, and the Alliance party of the liberal center with 13.5%.
A Sinn Fein victory does not guarantee the prime minister’s job for O’Neill, who will not be able to take the job unless the DUP agrees to nominate a deputy prime minister.
Under the regime Shared Power in Northern IrelandThe positions of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister should be shared between the larger pro-UK unionist and nationalist parties.
In this region, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are equal in power, despite their names, and neither can take office without the support of the other.
“The beginning of a new era”
Michelle O’Neill promised to work with representatives of all political views “by union, not by division”.
However, it also heralded the “beginning of a new era”. Sinn Féin’s ultimate goal is to separate the UK and Reunification of Ireland.
The nationalists’ historic victory comes after a political storm in Northern Ireland, where the Democratic Unionist Party – which has ruled for two decades – brought down the executive for opposing the Brexit protocol in Northern Ireland.
This protocol, in which unionists maintain an internal division, is an agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union to prevent the return of the physical borders on the island of Ireland due to Brexit.
A referendum to reunify Ireland?
Sinn Féin’s ultimate goal is for Northern Ireland to leave the UK and become One country with the Republic of Ireland.
But this does not mean that the electoral victory of the Nationalist Party will make it easier in the short term to call a referendum on the separation of this region from the United Kingdom and the reunification of Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Act 1998, which followed the signing of the so-called Good Friday Agreement, stipulated that Northern Ireland would remain part of the United Kingdom and “will not cease to be so”. Without the consent of the majority of the people Northern Ireland in a vote.
It also specifies that the Northern Ireland Secretariat (ministry) in London must agree to call a referendum if it appears likely that a majority of Northern Ireland wishes to unite with the South.
Analysts suggest that nationalists may begin to argue that more and more Northern Irish voters are in favor Reunification of Irelandto organize a referendum.
But in fact, the percentage of the nationalist vote has decreased since 2017, and it shows that there is no desire on the part of the majority to hold a border vote.
Nor do opinion polls show a majority in favor of Irish reunification.
The most recent one, published in April, indicates just that one third of the population Northern Irish Supports leaving the UK and joining Ireland.
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