This Thursday could be a historic day for Northern Ireland and even more so for Sinn Féinthe former political wing of the already dormant IRA, which is the favorite in the elections that are already underway.
Polls for weeks have pointed to a major political turnaround that will see Sinn Féin, a staunch champion of island reunification, head the executive branch.
Thus, a survey prepared by LucidTalk for The Belfast Telegraph and published on May 3 gives Sinn Féin and its main candidate: Michelle O’Neilll, a 26% majority, followed by the main unionist party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP, in its English acronym), which will receive 19% support. Other pro-British forces such as the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) or the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) will receive 13% and 9% respectively.
There are several factors that could have led to this, although at the center is Sinn Féin’s own women-led transformation focused on the “shopping cart and cost of living and energy, public health, education, housing, jobs and what affects on the day-to-day Northern Irish,” Michelle O’Neill explained to Público.
Electorate may punish two traditional blocs for government shutdown in February
But also the protocol signed by London and Brussels as a result of Brexit, rejected by the majority of the Northern Irish at the time, which led to the resignation of the Chief Minister of Northern Ireland, Paul Givanand destroyed unions.
In addition, the fact that the government has been suspended since February could see the electorate of Northern Ireland punish the two traditional blocs in favor of other formations.
The results will be known on Friday.
Despite the fact that already this Thursday over 1.3 million people were called to the polls, the first results of the elections will be known throughout Friday. However, the count is usually slow due to the complex electoral system, so final count may be delayed until Saturday.
Regardless of the percentage of the vote, the government will be divided by the unions and the Republicans, because that is what is laid out in the so-called Belfast Agreement, signed in 1998 to achieve peace.
Are institutions paralyzed?
However, the difficult part may still be ahead, because the DUP has already warned that it will not be part of the next executive body if London and Brussels do not solve the problems that the Brexit protocol creates for the British province.
Protestant unions are also suspicious of the momentum this divorce gave to the delicate question of Irish reunification through a referendumone of the flags of the Sinn Féin election campaign.
In its current form, the political paralysis could last for months as the DUP must accept O’Neill as chief minister.
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