N.Ireland parties agree on new First Minister, staving off fresh crisis

Eloise Marshall
June 18, 2021

The Democratic Unionist Party is to begin looking for another new leader after Edwin Poots announced his intention to quit. Jeevan was chosen as the prime minister, who took office on Monday, June 14.

Ireland's largest nationalist party, the Sinn Féin party, insisted on a nomination involving the implementation of the cultural elements of a political agreement mediated by London and Dublin, and reinstated the administration three years later without delegation.

Following late night discussions there was agreement between the North's two main political parties with Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill to be nominated as Deputy First Minister, and Paul Givan to be confirmed as the new First Minister.

That meant both a new First Minister and Deputy First Minister had to be appointed within a week, unless a Stormont election would be called. It is understood there were heated exchanges and a significant majority voted against the nomination going ahead in a ballot which was held after Poots and Givan had left to take part in the nomination process in the assembly chamber.

Sinn Fein had reportedly demanded a commitment from Poots over a timetable for implementing an Irish language legislation.

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What did Mr Poots' statement say?

This comes amid an internal party revolt over Poots' decision to negotiate a deal with Sinn Fein which allowed Paul Givan, who has never been DUP leader, to become the first minister of Northern Ireland, succeeding Arlene Foster in the role.

"This has been a hard period for the Party and the country and I have conveyed to the chairman my determination to do everything I can to ensure both unionism and Northern Ireland is able to move forward to a stronger place", the Lagan Valley MLA continued.

"We're back to square one, if you like, where the party has to find a way of electing a new leader that can unite the DUP, or at least attempts to", he told RTÉ. At the close of the meeting, Poots was spotted leaving but did not offer comment.

Mr Poots will stay in his post until a successor is elected.

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