By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BELFAST (Worthy News) – The Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, which seeks a united Ireland, has won North Ireland’s election with the most significant number of seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time.
With almost all votes counted, Sinn Fein secured 27 of the assembly’s 90 seats.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has 24. Saturday’s historic win means Sinn Fein is entitled to the post of the first minister in Belfast for the first time since Northern Ireland was founded as a Protestant-majority state in 1921.
Michelle O’Neill, who is due to become the first minister, described the results as a “defining moment for our politics and our people.”
She said that “Today ushers in a new era which I believe presents us all with an opportunity to reimagine relationships in this society. Based on fairness, on the basis of equality and on the basis of social justice.”
Although Sinn Féin can nominate a first minister, they cannot take power unless the DUP, the biggest party from the unionist bloc, agrees to appoint a deputy first minister.
Its leader Jeffrey Donaldson has not yet decided whether the party will do that.
After confirming Sinn Féin’s result, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon congratulated the party on a “historic vote.”
She hoped to see Northern Ireland’s government “functioning again soon.” However, the debate on whether Northern Ireland should remain part of Britain was expected to intensify following Saturday’s election.
The vote comes more than two decades after the Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement, signed in April 1998, ended most of the violence of the Troubles.
The Troubles was a political conflict in Northern Ireland that had ensued since the late 1960s.
It was a significant development in the Northern Ireland peace process of the 1990s, and Saturday’s vote would not have been possible without it.
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