Sinn Fein becomes Northern Ireland’s largest party after historic victory | british news

Sinn Fein is the first nationalist party to win the most seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly in its 101-year history.

Voters flocked to the polls to elect 90 new members of the Legislative Assembly, with Sinn Fein winning the lion’s share of the seats.

When the count ended in the early hours of Sunday morning, the final score showed Sinn Fein with 27 seats, pushing the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which has 25, into second place.

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Michelle O’Neill, the party’s vice president, will now become the country’s first nationalist prime minister.

Ms O’Neill said earlier in her statement at Magherafelt: “Today represents a very important moment of change.

“Today ushers in a new era that offers all of us the opportunity to reshape relationships in this society based on fairness, on the basis of equality and on the basis of social justice.

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

More about local elections 2022

Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon congratulated Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald and Ms O’Neill on a “truly historic victory”.

The DUP lost support among union members over its response to Brexit and trade arrangements involving Northern Ireland, causing a split of votes between the country’s three union parties.

stormont is dependent on power sharing between the nationalist parties (those who want Irish unity) and the trade unionists (those who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK) and the DUP has previously expressed its intention to boycott the government rather than see a nationalist prime minister.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he is encouraging the parties to form an executive as soon as possible.

He said the people of Northern Ireland deserve “a stable and accountable local government”.

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Sinn Fein becomes largest party in NI Assembly

Lewis added that he will meet with all party leaders in the coming days and urge them to restore Stormont institutions “as early as possible”.

Formerly Stormont’s biggest party, the DUP resigned from the role of prime minister in February in protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Due to power-sharing rules, the move also forced Ms. O’Neill to resign.

Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Michelle O'Neill reacts to her election in Mid Ulster at the Northern Ireland Assembly Election Center at Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt in Co County Londonderry.  Date photo: Friday May 6, 2022.
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Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill Responds to Her Election

DUP MP Ian Paisley said there would be no devolved government in Northern Ireland, while issues surrounding the Northern Ireland Protocol remain unresolved.

Read more:
What is Power Sharing in Northern Ireland?
Who is Sinn Fein’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill?

Paisley said Friday at an election center in Jordanstown: “I think the elephant in the room is protocol.

“Until we resolve this issue, we can hold any elections we want, but there will be no government until we resolve that protocol issue.

“Hopefully today will be a focus for the government that they need to fix this now, not just for union members but for everyone. The protocol hurts us all.”

The standoff will increase tensions between Westminster and Brussels, with the UK pushing for all options to remain on the table – including the possibility to unilaterally scrap elements of the post-Brexit deal.

That could lead to a major rift in relations between the UK and the European Union.

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