Possible political avalanche in Northern Ireland

Today’s election in Northern Ireland could cause a political earthquake with far-reaching consequences for Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and British unity. Sinn Féin, the party that supports Irish reunification, will be the largest party and thus also provide the ‘First Minister’.

Just 30 years ago, the IRA paramilitary group detonated three homemade mortar rounds at 10 Downing Street – the heart of the British government where Prime Minister John Major met his cabinet. At the time, the pro-Irish Sinn Féin was the political wing of the IRA, but since the 1994 armistice that marked the end of the Problem ushering in, the politicians of this party have embarked on a peaceful path to achieve their goals.

Growing up in the room

Sinn Féin has let go of his relationship with the IRA’s violent past. Modern women’s party leaders who campaign on both sides of the border, in Northern Ireland and Ireland, no longer talk about the civil wars of the past. They present themselves as adult in the roomwho rose above division and distrust in Northern Irish politics – which was not particularly difficult along with the divided pro-British unions, which have been battling internal squabbles since Brexit.

The largest trade union party, the Democratic Ulster Party (DUP), is deeply dissatisfied with the deal struck in the Brexit deal over the trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of Great Britain. They voted for Brexit and are now faced with a consequence: more border controls. In addition, Ireland united ever more closely, putting increasing pressure on their British identity.

But according to Sinn Féin, this election is not about Brexit or identity politics. In contrast, Sinn Féin’s campaign focuses on groups of voters who have primary concerns about everyday life, such as soaring prices and inflation.

Peace Baby

In addition to the leadership of Sinn Féin, the growth of new parties unwilling to join the pro-British or pro-Irish camps was also remarkable. The liberal center party alliance is expected to win a lot of votes, popular as a generation peace dear: young people who have no memory of the Troubles themselves, and do not want to vote against the sectarian political leanings of their parents.

Brexit has shaken the political landscape to such an extent that Sinn Féin is likely to become the biggest party. The party would then be allowed to supply the prime minister for the first time. While the position of ‘First Minister’ is symbolic, in a country where faith and identity have been fought for 30 years and more than 3,500 people have died in the fighting, symbolism matters.

No soft landing

In Northern Ireland’s parliament, which has been chaired by Protestant unionists for more than a hundred years, this shift has certainly not been a soft landing. It is also questionable whether the DUP will accept prime minister Sinn Féin. That may sound like a local issue, but it could lead to a massive constitutional crisis that requires the British government to intervene.

The power-sharing agreement, enshrined in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, states that the largest nationalist and trade union parties Should collaborate. Failure to do so could lead to Northern Ireland’s political paralysis and more unrest in society.

Astrid Marshman

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