What can London do now for peace

Unionists run the conflict in Northern Ireland and have been punished for it by the electorate. The majority of voters simply want a functioning government in Belfast. Conservatives in London should understand this as well and strive to reach a speedy agreement on the customs issue with the EU.

Michelle O’Neill was the first Sinn Fein politician to be elected Prime Minister in Belfast, but unionists resisted government formation.

CLUDAG KILQUEEN/REUTERS

The victory is historic. A Republican party has won elections in Northern Ireland for the first time since the partition of Ireland a hundred years ago. Sinn Fein Vice Chairman Michelle O’Neill rightly claims to lead local government in Belfast. But it is uncertain whether that will happen. The second-place Democratic Unionist Party refused to partner with Sinn Fein to form the new government. However, a government must be formed in accordance with the Basic Agreement for the Northern Ireland Peace Regime concluded on Good Friday 1998. If the DUP continues, Northern Ireland will remain under London without its own government, an unacceptable situation.

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