Sinn Fein edged out the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in the vote for the province’s 90-member National Assembly, winning the most seats, 27, and securing the largest proportion of first-preference votes. This compares with 25 seats for the DUP and 17 for the Alliance Party.
Vote counting ended early on Sunday, with all 90 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly now filled, according to the UK’s PA news agency.
Sinn Fein it is now the largest party in the assembly and can nominate a prime minister for the first time. The party opposes Northern Ireland being part of the UK and is in favor of a united Ireland.
“The preparation for constitutional change in Ireland must start now,” Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald told CNN on Friday night as the results began to emerge. “We need to be aware of the fact that change is underway.
“It is my absolute determination that this change be completely peaceful,” he added.
That day remains a distant prospect despite the results of Thursday’s vote. But Sinn Fein’s emergence as Northern Ireland’s biggest party could nonetheless force a conversation around a so-called border poll.
Sinn Fein was once closely associated with the IRA, which fought a bloody three-decade military campaign to end British rule and unite the island of Ireland, though the party has since positioned itself as a left-wing political party focused on northern social issues. and south of the border.
His success in Northern Ireland’s election on Thursday was aided by a drop in the DUP, which has held the post of prime minister since 2007 and briefly supported Theresa May’s Conservative government in Westminster since 2017.