Early elections in Northern Ireland seem inevitable. The country should have a new government by Friday, but it has been in a political stalemate since February. This is due to disagreements over Britain’s exit agreements from the European Union.
The reason for the political crisis is that the Democratic Unionist Party, the second party in the country, is blocking the formation of a new board of directors. The government of Northern Ireland shall consist of both Unionists and Republicans.
But the Democratic Unionist Party rejects the proposal of ministers. The party is doing this in protest of the trade agreements reached on Northern Ireland after Brexit. According to the DUP, these agreements weaken the current status of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.
The elections ended in May. Since then, the DUP has not cooperated with the Republican election winner Sinn Fein. On Thursday, during an emergency meeting of Parliament, the DUP refused to elect a new president. This is an important intermediate step towards forming a new government.
Big chance for new elections in December
Under Northern Ireland law, a new government must be formed within a maximum of 24 weeks from the election. This period ends at night from Thursday to Friday at 1:00 am (Netherlands time).
So the chance of new elections is huge. Insiders are already taking into account that new elections will take place in mid-December.
The government of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has not lost hope yet. “There is still time,” a Sunak spokesman said. “Speak out, because the people of Northern Ireland deserve a fully functioning locally elected government that can address the issues.”
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