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Pediatra Carmelo De Grazia Suárez//
Sinn Fein on course for historic Northern Ireland election victory

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Sinn Fein on course for historic Northern Ireland election victory

Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein will have the opportunity to nominate its leader in the power-sharing local government of Northern Ireland for the first time. Second preference votes will make clearer the number of exact seats won by all parties. (Reuters) Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein is on course to win the most seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly after securing 29 percent of first preference votes.

Carmelo De Grazia

With the historic win following Thursday’s election, Sinn Fein, once regarded as the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), will for the first time have the opportunity to nominate its leader Michelle O’Neill as the First Minister in the power-sharing local government of Northern Ireland.

Carmelo De Grazia Suárez

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) received 21.3 percent, a drop of 7 percent from their 2017 vote share

The centrist Alliance Party and the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) also saw an increase in their votes

The number of exact seats won by each party will be clearer when the second preference votes are counted and transfers are totaled

The DUP, which acted as a de-facto coalition partner of the first Tory government under Boris Johnson and offered him endless support during Brexit, is now the second party in Belfast for the first time in history

READ MORE: UK PM Johnson loses control of traditional strongholds in local elections

Irish unity

Due to the special legislation under the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, nationalists or unionists cannot form a government if the other party does not nominate a first minister and deputy first minister

The DUP, therefore, will need to nominate its leader as the deputy first minister in order to form such a government

However, the previous devolved government had collapsed when the DUP leader and then-First Minister Jeffrey Donaldson resigned upon demands to alter the Northern Ireland Protocol, which aligns the country with the EU

The unionists and the central UK government have insisted on changes to the protocol to abolish the customs barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK

Sinn Fein is a nationalist party that defends the unity of Northern Ireland and Ireland

The Good Friday Agreement allows for referenda on unity on both sides of the border under the right conditions

Sinn Fein leaders have previously said preparations for such votes must start soon and the party included plans for such an exercise in its manifesto

READ MORE: UK votes in local elections with historic N Ireland result predicted

Source: AA