Northern Ireland announces new Assembly elections

Belfast, Jan 17 (IANS) Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire announced that elections to a new Assembly will take place on March 2 after the executive collapsed over a botched green energy scheme, media reports said.

Announcing the election, Brokenshire said: “I am now obliged under relevant legislation to propose a date for the next Northern Ireland assembly election. The election seeks to have the views of the future of Northern Ireland and bring people back together again and assures those lines of communications remain open.”

The Secretary was forced to call the elections on Monday, when it became clear there would be no deal to bring the Democratic Unionist party and political party Sinn Fein together to save power sharing in the region, the Guardian reported.

The present assembly will sit until 26 January, when it will be dissolved. The new election takes place just 10 months after the previous one, which resulted in a joint Sinn Fein-Democratic Unionist party government.

The devolved administration fell after a row over a bungled green energy scheme and the Democratic Unionist first minister’s refusal to temporarily stand down from her post.

Sinn Féin on Monday, refused to nominate a new deputy first minister in the Parliament, thus triggering an election. The Democratic Unionists had once again put forward Arlene Foster as first minister.

But under the rules of power sharing in the province, a government could not survive if the main political representatives of one section of the community refused to participate in the administration.