The Catholic Republican Party, Sinn Féin, emerged as the strongest party in the Northern Ireland general election for the first time. That was evident after most of the votes were counted on Saturday evening. According to this, the party, once considered the political arm of the armed IRA, won no fewer than 27 of the 90 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly. In doing so, Sinn Féin supplanted the Protestant Unionist Federalist Party as the most powerful force.
Sinn Fein’s lead candidate, Michelle O’Neill, is now entitled to claim the position of Prime Minister. This is a historical result of the part of the country that belongs to the United Kingdom. For the first time, the government could be headed by a woman who advocated separation from London and union with the Republic of Ireland. Until now, the parties advocating the preservation of the union with Great Britain have always provided the head of government.
However, the formation of the government may fail due to the resistance of the Protestant Unionist Party (DUP), which would have to appoint a representative with equal rights. According to the 1998 peace agreement known as the Good Friday Agreement, the most powerful parties from both sects must form a national unity government.
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