According to the BBC, the Catholic-Republican Sinn Féin party received the highest percentage of votes in the Northern Ireland regional parliament elections after the first round of counting. As a result, Sinn Fein, with 29 percent of the vote, is far ahead of the second strongest party, the Democratic Federalist Party, with 21.3 percent. As Irish radio RTE reported today, citing Sinn Fein constituencies, the party is confident that it will also secure the most seats in the regional parliament.
This would be a historical outcome for that part of the United Kingdom. Sinn Fein was once considered the political arm of the armed ERA, which fought at gunpoint to unite Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland.
Irish Unity Discussion
If expectations are confirmed, the party will be given the right to nominate the prime minister in the next unity government. Until now, this position has always been occupied by parties calling for the preservation of the union with Great Britain. Sinn Fein remains committed to the unity of Ireland. Michelle O’Neill, chair of the Northern Irish Sinn Fein party, has called for a broad social debate on the question of union with the Republic of Ireland. “Let’s all work together on a common plan,” O’Neill said.
The formation of the government could fail due to the resistance of the Protestant Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which would have to appoint an equal representative. 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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