DUP remain largest party in Northern Ireland after snap elections

Following the RHI Scandal and the collapse of the Northern Irish executive, the previously governing DUP, led by Arlene Foster, remained the largest party, beating coalition partner and key competitor Sinn Fein by one seat.

Only 1,000 votes of the total 800,000 cast separated the two partners, with Sinn Fein gaining on the 10 seat lead the DUP previously held as issues such as Brexit dominate politics, as Northern Ireland had overwhelmingly voted to remain in the European Union.

Not only did Irish nationalists gain the majority for the first time in Northern Irish history, but the DUP lost their 30 seat mark, meaning they can no longer veto legislation by themselves.

The DUP and Sinn Fein, as the two largest parties, must now agree to a coalition deal within 3 weeks, or power will return to London.

As some of its conditions, Sinn Fein has demanded the Foster step aside as investigations continue into her involvement in the RHI scandal, while the DUP have dismissed these demands. The president of Sinn Fein released a statement, in which he says that avoiding the return of power to London and the end of devolved rule may be impossible.

The elections had a turnout of 65%, the highest level since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, in which Northern Ireland was granted devolved power.

 

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