Sinn Féin and Alliance gains in NI election - expert comment
10 May 2022
Following the reshaping of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Dr Amanda Hall from the Department of Politics and International Relations shares her expert commentary on implications for power sharing, and the future of power brokerage.
Dr Amanda Hall, Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Reading said:
"The Democratic Unionist Party are attempting to emphasise their control over Northern Ireland by threatening to stall a return to power-sharing unless the Protocol is revised. Yet Thursday’s election challenges the strength of the party. Results saw nationalist Sinn Féin returned as the largest party in the Executive for the first time.There were also sweeping gains made by the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, who are neither nationalist nor unionist.
“Against the gains by Sinn Féin and APNI, we have seen further splintering of the unionist vote, highlighting that voters may not believe the DUP to be the right party to broker power.As the DUP are no longer kingmakers in Westminster politics,nor the largest party in Stormont,this may turn out to be a reckoning for theparty that once marched on Theresa May’s Downing Street with a list of demands in return for a confidence-and-supply government.
“The DUP may be able to stall a return to devolved government in Stormont. However, there is no guarantee that any policies put in place in Stormont’s absence will be to their satisfaction,or that changes to the Protocol both the UK and the EU may be willing to make will go far enough. Furthermore, there are big questions about whether voters will continue to support this strategy if a further election were to be called. Ultimately this is a dangerous gamble over the future of both their party and Northern Ireland itself."