Northern Ireland’s Chief Minister Arlene Foster has resigned her position in a farewell speech at the Belfast Assembly. His resignation opens a seven-day period in which the two major parties, the Democratic Unionist (DUP) and Sinn Féin, have to nominate their candidates to rebuild the shared leadership of the regional Executive.
Sinn Féin has warned that it will not confirm Michelle O’Neill as Deputy Prime Minister, if the DUP does not undertake to introduce in the Assembly a law regulating the protection and use of the Irish Gaelic language. The new leader of the largest unionist party, Edwin de Poots, more radical than Foster, has affirmed that his party will comply with the agreements on that law, but that its approval is not urgent.
If the seven-day deadline passes without nominations, the London Government will call early elections. The polls give Sinn Féin as the most voted party. It would occupy the highest leadership position for the first time in the history of Northern Ireland. Foster leaves Parliament and also the DUP, which is now in the hands of Poots and his candidate for the position of chief minister, Paul Givan.