Northern Ireland Assembly election results in stalemate
Nationalist parties who supported the ‘remain’ campaign in the European referendum last year have gained seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections held last Thursday.
The new Assembly will be reduced to 90 seats from the previous 108 seats and 1,254,709 people were eligible to vote and turnout was 64.8%.
The result was a victory for the Irish republican and left-wing party Sinn Féin which took 27 seats in the new Assembly, just one seat behind the unionist right-wing Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who won 28 seats. The notional result suggests a drop of five seats for the DUP whilst Sinn Féin has gained four seats.
The other Irish nationalist centre-left party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party won one extra notional seat to take 12 seats whilst the unionist and centre-right Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) dropped a notional seat to take ten seats.
Four other parties and one Independent also won seats. The centre-left pro-European Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (APN) won eight seats, the Greens won two seats and the unionist right wing Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) and far-left Eurosceptic People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA) both won one seat.
The European referendum result in which Northern Ireland voted to remain and a scandal involving the DUP leader Arlene Foster known as the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal were central topics in the campaign. Sinn Féin, which had worked with the DUP in the previous Assembly, said that it would not work with the DUP whilst Arlene Foster remains.
Northern Ireland Secretary (The United Kingdom’s Cabinet minister for Northern Ireland) James Brokenshire has called a meeting of all the political parties at Stormont for today. Progress is likely to be slow and the ultimate (and bad) sanction would be to return direct rule to Westminster with the Assembly suspended.