Tense waiting in Northern Ireland

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Published: Today 09.59

Updated: Less than 10 minutes ago

A hug of victory to the deputy leader of the nationalist party Sinn Féin Michelle O’Neill after the counting of the votes in the Northern Ireland regional elections.

1 of 3Photo: Peter Morrison / AP / TT

Nationalist Sinn Féin is aiming for victory in Northern Ireland’s regional elections. But the government crisis is likely to persist.

In London, Labor is making great progress after a “hard night” for the Conservatives.

A feverish tally was carried out in Northern Ireland on Friday to get the election results for the regional parliament in Stormont.

Mandate number one went to the rapidly growing Alliance Party, which seeks to remain on the side of the traditional divide between pro-Irish nationalists and London-minded unionists.

The largest party, however, should be the nationalist Sinn Féin, in this case for the first time in the history of the region.

– It can potentially be a historical choice for many reasons, but I think it’s because people want to tell us how we should work together with others. “It’s the only way we can do more for the people,” Michelle O’Neill, the party’s top leader in Northern Ireland, after being elected in Mid Ulster herself, told the BBC.

Prolonged crisis

However, the main opponents of the unionist DUP are not giving up yet.

– He will be very balanced about who will be the biggest party, says party leader Jeffrey Donaldson for the BBC since he was also elected, in Lagan Valley constituency.

At the same time, the DUP warns that the protracted government crisis that has paralyzed legal co-government in Northern Ireland will continue.

The main reason is the DUP’s great dissatisfaction with the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, which sets out how trade should work following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

“There will be no government until the protocol issue is resolved,” Ian Paisley, whose namesake father was for a long time the prime leader of Northern Ireland’s unionists, told the Belfast Telegraph.

I work in London

Parallel to the Northern Ireland elections, on Thursday, the British, Welsh and Scots voted in all kinds of local elections.

Among the results was strong success for Social Democratic Labor, which for the first time in nearly 60 years took home the London borough of Westminster as well as traditionally conservative Barnet and Wandsworth.

– We had a difficult night in some parts of the country, admits Prime Minister Boris Johnson, according to the AFP news agency.

– But on the other hand, in other parts of the country, the Conservative Party is still seen moving forward and achieving rather notable success in places that haven’t voted Conservative for a long time, if ever, Johnson says.

“Great breakthrough”

Harsh criticism was leveled at Johnson, who sparked dissatisfaction with the “partygate” crown scandal and which was followed by the rise in the cost of living in the country, which may have reduced the outcome for the Conservative Party.

Labor leader Keir Starmer describes the election as “a major turning point”.

– We changed the job and now we see the result, he says, according to AFP.

However, this is not a landslide victory for Labor, which has met with opposition elsewhere in England where the Greens and Liberal Democrats have advanced.

Other results, including from Scotland and Wales, should only be ready on Friday night and over the weekend.


Local elections in the UK

Local and regional elections were held across the UK on Thursday.

In England, 144 of the 333 so-called councils were voted, with a total of 4,411 council seats at stake.

In Scotland and Wales all local governments voted (32 and 22 respectively).

In Northern Ireland, all 90 seats in the Stormont Regional Parliament will be appointed. By 6pm on Friday night, nationalist Sinn Féin had won 10 of the 15 free seats and increased his share of votes by 1.8 percentage points. The unionist party DUP had two seats and had backed off by 6 percentage points. At the same time, the smaller TUV unionist party, up 5.1 percentage points, and the neutral Alliance party, up 4.4 percentage points, made strong progress.

Sources: Politico, BBC, Belfast Telegraph.

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