Fifth attempt to elect speaker of Northern Ireland Assembly fails in the face of DUP blockade

File – File image of the Northern Ireland Assembly. – Liam Mcburney/PA Wire/dpa

The fifth attempt to elect the speaker and deputy speaker of the Northern Ireland National Assembly failed on Wednesday in the face of opposition from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which still refuses to give its approval and return to the Executive until the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol is resolved.

Despite a new request from the Sinn Féin party, which won the last election with 27 of the 90 seats in the Stormont Assembly, the DUP, which won 25 seats in the election, has again blocked the measure, leaving the Northern Irish government once again in political limbo, according to reports on BBC television.

The motion, which was supported by the Alliance Party, the Social Democrats and Labour, called on the DUP to end its «boycott» and help the population to cope with the crisis caused by rising prices.

However, the DUP has again refused to support any candidate and maintains its position. Last October, the British government announced the calling of new elections in view of the deadlock generated, although it has not set a date for this.

For her part, Sinn Féin’s vice-president, Michelle O’Neill, regretted that the DUP «has left the population in the hands of a Conservative government that will cause damage with cuts and austerity». «We have just a few weeks to act and create stability and certainty for society, business and politics,» she said.

However, from the DUP insist that the calls from the Assembly are «nothing more than a farce» and insist that they will not support any candidate for speaker of the House.

The current legislation indicates that elections must be held within a maximum period of twelve weeks, although it is expected that the vote can finally be held on December 15.

In mid-November, the British Minister for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, promised that the elections to the Assembly would be held in the first quarter of 2023, one day after the deadline for the holding of these elections was put back.