A “new era” in Northern Ireland? At the gates of a historic victory, the nationalist party Sinn Fein, in favor of the reunification of all Ireland, welcomed on Saturday May 7“a very important moment of change”, despite the risk of political paralysis. As the long counting of the ballots cast in the ballot boxes on Thursday to designate the 90 elected members of the Local Assembly progresses, partial results give Sinn Fein a slight lead against its unionist rival DUP, favorable to maintaining within the British crown. It’s a first in a hundred-year history of the province, under tension due to Brexit.
The DUP, the main Unionist party that had been dominant in the local assembly until then, admitted on Saturday that the Republicans of Sinn Fein were on the way to victory. The leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Jeffrey Donaldson, on Sky News, repeated that his formation would refuse to join a new union government without changing the post-Brexit status of the British province.
Difficult talks ahead
A victory would propel Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill to the post of head of local government, which is to be run jointly by nationalists and unionists under the 1998 peace deal.
In Belfast, the count so far gives Sinn Fein 23 of the 77 declared seats, against 21 for its unionist rival of the DUP, favorable to the British crown. The nationalist party has already obtained the most first preference votes (29% against 21.3%) and the end of the count should not reverse the situation.
But the talks for the formation of a government promise to be difficult and the risk of paralysis hovers, the unionists refusing to join a government as long as the post-Brexit customs controls remain in place, which according to them threaten the integrity of the United Kingdom. United.