Sinn Fein wins Northern Ireland election, could quicken unity between Ireland and the north

Sinn Fein has created history by becoming the largest party in the recently concluded elections in Northern Ireland. This is the first time the island could be ruled by a leader from a nationalist party that used to be called the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The win is not only expected to bring unity across the entire island of Ireland in future but could also alter the ties between Ireland and the European Union.

The election results were declared early Sunday and Sinn Fein won 27 seats, the most in the 90 seats that went to the polls in Northern Ireland. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) won 24 seats and the Alliance Party won 17 seats. The DUP has been the leading party in the island nation since 2007 and has held the post of first minister. However, now the post will be held by a member of Sinn Fein. This is the first time it will hold the post since 1921, when Northern Ireland became a Protestant-majority state.

The 1998 peace agreement that ended the conflict between the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, which had raged for decades and was a long and bloody conflict, resulted in a mandatory power-sharing system. The system calls for a devolution in power and the post of the first minister and the deputy first minister is held by one member of the biggest union party and one member of the biggest nationalist party.

The government can function only after both the posts are filled. The Sinn Fein has called for politicians in Northern Ireland to come together and form an Executive, which is the devolved government of Northern Ireland.

The DUP has suggested that it might not serve under a first minister, who is from Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist party. If the Executive is not formed within six months, new elections will be held and that might cause more uncertainty.

Image Wikimedia 

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