August 3, 2021

agreement on a new prime minister

The main parties in Northern Ireland agreed on Thursday (June 17th) to support the replacement of former Prime Minister Arlene Foster, averting a new political crisis in the British-controlled region which threatened to lead to early elections.

Arlene Foster formally resigned Monday after being ousted from the head of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). His successor, Edwin Poots, is seeking to appoint his Social-Conservative colleague Paul Givan as prime minister and has until Monday to garner support from other parties in the power-sharing government.

Read also In Northern Ireland, loyalists choose new leader, Edwin Poots

Sinn Fein, the Republican party with which the DUP leads the province, insists that the nomination come with the implementation of the cultural elements of a political deal brokered by London and Dublin, which reestablished the executive at the start last year, after three years without decentralized administration.

Rights for Irish language speakers

The deal includes rights for Irish language speakers and Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said the UK government agreed to legislate these rights in the London Parliament after the DUP refused to do so in Belfast.

Sinn Fein will therefore fully participate in the five-party executive, Mary Lou McDonald said in a statement, paving the way for Paul Givan to become prime minister.

The British and Irish governments, co-guarantors of the 1998 peace agreement that ended thirty years of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland and introduced a decentralized government, have welcomed the agreement between the two parties.

Read also: Deaf dialogue about Northern Ireland

British Minister for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said on Twitter that he expected the ratification of the new prime minister to take place later today Thursday.

The World with Reuters