Northern Ireland has to go to the polls again. Parliament failed to form a provincial government in time. A political crisis over disagreements over Britain’s exit agreements from the European Union has turned out to be inevitable.
The last time residents went to the polls was in May. A new government had to be formed within 24 weeks. It failed. Now, according to the law, new elections must be held within twelve weeks.
The failure of the formation is mainly due to the Democratic Unionist Party. The country’s second party has refused to nominate ministers over the agreements reached on international trade after Britain’s exit from the European Union. According to the DUP, this weakens Northern Ireland’s position in the United Kingdom. On Thursday, the party halted a final bid to form a government.
The DUP had to help form a new government, because the Northern Ireland Governing Council had to be made up of unionists and republicans. Republican election winner Sinn Féin could not avoid the DUP, but unionists have refused to cooperate since the election results.
It is still not clear when new elections will take place
The British Minister for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, formally announced on Friday that Northern Ireland should return to the vote. No date has yet been set, but he says he will announce more details next week. Insiders had expected an election in December.
It remains to be seen whether the new elections will help break the deadlock. The polls have barely moved since May, and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is sticking to the position that Brexit agreements must first be amended.
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