I understand that in January 2017, the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, resigned, and due to the way the devolved government of Northern Ireland works, this forced the First Minister, Arlene Foster, to resign as well. This then led to an election in Northern Ireland in March.

Why has that election not resulted, to date (June 2017), in the position of First Minister being filled again (presumably by the leader of the party that won the most seats)?

1 Answer 1


Both DUP and Sinn Féin are still negotiating to form a power-sharing government.

The positions of First Minister and their deputy will only be filled when a government is formed. The DUP lost 10 seats at the 2017 election, resulting in them having 1 seat less than Sinn Féin. This made negotiations more complicated since both parties have almost the same number of seats – 28 (DUP) & 27 (Sinn Féin).

The DUP remain the largest party in the new assembly, with Donaldson stressing that Foster would still be their nominee as first minister if and when a power-sharing government is restored.

The election results mean the DUP and Sinn Féin will once again lead the negotiations aimed at creating a new power-sharing government in Belfast when they take place on Monday. However, the prospect of the parties reaching agreement in the three-week timeframe imposed by the Northern Ireland secretary, James Brokenshire, appears remote.

(emphasis mine)

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