Historic Election Victory for Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald and Vice President Michelle O'Neill
History was made this election day. When the votes were counted, Sinn Féin recorded the highest ever vote share and the largest number of seats of any party.
Sinn Féin becoming the largest party by seat numbers entitles the party to the position of First Minister. Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Féin Vice President, will be the first pro-Irish Unity leader to take the position in 101 years.
The Northern State was designed to ensure a permanent pro-British (unionist) majority. The first Prime Minister of the partition state infamously described it as a “Protestant state for a protestant people”. Those days ended on Thursday. Michelle O’Neill has committed to being a First Minister for all.
The election also returned 36 MLA's supporting a United Ireland. 37 supporting continued partition and 17 members of the Alliance which describes the party as neither. There is no overall majority for partition and the trend of reducing unionist representation over the past 24 years continues.
The election, the first since the signing of the Irish Brexit Protocol, returned a large majority in favor of the protocol and for getting the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement up to and working. So the British government cannot represent its opposition to the EU and the Protocol as speaking on behalf of the people of the North.
This has been a historic election. The election of an Irish Republican to the position of First Minister (designate) reflects the power of democracy and is a measure of the change that is sweeping across Ireland. The old ways are gone and further change - including Irish Unity - is possible.