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Northern Ireland: Unionists confirm probable victory of Sinn Fein



Lhe DUP, the main unionist party that had been dominant in the Northern Ireland local assembly until then, has acknowledged that the Sinn Fein Republicans were on course to win a historic victory in the local elections. “It certainly looks like Sinn Fein is going to emerge as the premier party,” Democratic Unionist Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson told Sky News on Saturday May 7.

The DUP will refuse to join a new union government without a change to the British province’s post-Brexit status. At the gates of a historic victory in Northern Ireland, the nationalist party Sinn Fein, in favor of the reunification of all Ireland, has for its part promised a “new era”, despite the risk of political paralysis.

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A climate of tension

While progressing the long counting of the ballots to designate the 90 elected members of the local Assembly, partial results give a slight lead to Sinn Fein against its unionist rival DUP, favorable to remaining within the British crown. This is a first in a hundred years of history of the province, under tension due to Brexit. “I will provide leadership that is inclusive, that celebrates diversity, that guarantees rights and equality for those who have been excluded, discriminated against or ignored in the past,” pledged Sinn Fein leader in Northern Ireland, Michelle O ‘Neill, from his Mid Ulster constituency.

A victory would propel Michelle O’Neill to the post of leader of the local government, which is to be run jointly by nationalists and unionists under the 1998 peace accord. But talks for the formation of a government promise to be difficult and the risk of paralysis hovers, the unionists refusing to join a government as long as the post-Brexit customs controls remain in place, which they believe threaten the integrity of the United Kingdom.

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