Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist party, wins a historic election in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist party, wins a historic election in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist party, wins a historic election in Northern Ireland.
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After Sinn Fein, previously considered the political branch of the IRA, emerged as the largest party in regional elections, Northern Ireland is on the verge of electing a nationalist leader for the first time in its history.

In voting for the province’s 90-member national Assembly, Sinn Fein defeated the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), earning 27 seats and the biggest number of first preference votes. In comparison, the DUP has 25 seats and the Alliance Party has 17. According to the UK’s PA media news agency, the counting of ballots ended early on Sunday, with all 90 seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly being filled.

For the first time, Sinn Fein is the largest party in the parliament and may designate a first minister. Northern Ireland should not be part of the United Kingdom, and the party supports a united Ireland.
“Preparation for constitutional reform in Ireland needs to start now,” Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald told CNN on Friday evening as the election results started to come in. “We have to be aware that change is taking place.”
“I am quite certain that the transition will be completely calm,” she continued.

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After decades of violent fighting known as The Troubles, a condition in the 1998 peace agreements reached with the British and Irish governments specified that a referendum on Irish unification might be called if it appeared likely that the majority of people would support it.
Despite the outcome of Thursday’s election, that day remains a long way off. However, Sinn Fein’s election as Northern Ireland’s largest party may compel a discussion on a so-called border vote.

Sinn Fein was once closely associated with the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which fought a bloody three-decade military campaign to end British rule and unite Ireland, but it has since repositioned itself as a grassroots left-wing political party focused on social issues both north and south of the border.
The party runs in British Parliament elections but does not accept any of the seats it wins. It previously performed well in the Republic of Ireland’s 2020 general election.

The DUP, which has held the role of the first minister since 2007 and briefly popped up in Theresa May’s Conservative administration in Westminster in 2017, saw its support dwindle in the Northern Irish election on Thursday.

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