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Sinn Féin victory in elections and unionist division perpetuate crisis

The nationalist party Sinn Féin obtained 29% of the first votes counted in the regional elections held today in Northern Ireland, which also confirm the recovery of parties from the center and a division in trade unionism, indicates the EFE agency.

The provisional electoral count shows that the former political wing of the IRA and staunch supporter of Irish reunification is on its way to a historic victory, awaiting the final composition of the Belfast Assembly with 90 seats.

The Democratic Unionist Party has so far received 21.3% of the votes, while the center-liberal Alliance Party has won 13.5%, consolidating its position in third place.

With this result, Sinn Féin leader in the region, Michelle O’Neill, will run for the post of chief minister, a role never held by a nationalist politician in the 100-year history of that British province.

“It was very positive, I think we ran a very positive campaign,” said Michelle O’Neill, while party president Mary Lou McDonald noted that Sinn Féin won “the most important elections in a generation.”

After securing the post, Michelle O’Neill reiterated that she wants to “work in cooperation with other” political groups to resolve issues that affect citizenship, such as “the cost of living or health.”

Sinn Féin spoke during the election campaign on these issues, but the issue of Ireland’s reunification has once again caught the attention of trade unions at a time when Brexit threatens to jeopardize the union with the British crown. .

The Democratic Unionist Party, the majority for the last 20 years, reiterated today that it will not be part of a coalition government if the talks held by London and Brussels do not lead to the elimination of the Brexit protocol for the region.

“Until this issue is resolved, they can hold whatever elections they want, but there will be no government until the protocol issue is fixed,” said Ian Paisley, a Unionist Party MP in Westminster.

The Unionist Party leader stressed that, in light of the election results, London “will now have to focus on solving” the problems post-Brexit trade deals are causing in Northern Ireland.

The Unionist Party forced the fall of the government last February and now has no intention of presenting, in case it comes second in these elections, a candidate for Michelle O’Neill’s deputy chief minister.

According to the Good Friday peace agreement (1998), which put an end to the conflict, neither office can exist without the other, and although both have the same status, the office of chief minister has an enormous symbolic charge for Protestant unionism.

As the polls predicted during the campaign, the electorate’s fatigue with the constant constitutional crises led to formations not aligned with the two traditional blocs, such as the Alliance Party, led by Naomi Long, which was the fifth political force in the 2017 elections.

The Alliance can now establish itself in the third position, not far from the Unionist Party, to enter with force in the next executive.

In the previous legislature, Long was part of an autonomous government dominated by the Unionist Party, Sinn Féin, Nationalist Social Democrats and Labor Party (SLDP), and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), which now won 9.1 and 11.2% of the vote, respectively. , in the first scrutinized results.

Brexit, rejected by the Northern Ireland electorate in the 2016 referendum, had negative consequences on the result of the Unionist Party, which continues to defend Brexit, which caused the “division” of the Protestant bloc, as its leader, Jeffrey, acknowledged today. Donaldson.

Source: With agencies

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