Election turnout up as Northern Ireland faces uncertain future

  • Election turnout up as Northern Ireland faces uncertain future

Election turnout up as Northern Ireland faces uncertain future

The vote was triggered at the start of the year after Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness resigned over First Minister Arlene Foster's stance on the Cash for Ash controversy - although tensions over support for the Irish language, and other factors, had also been bubbling under in the months leading up to Sinn Féin's decision to pull out.

Northern Ireland uses an electoral system of single transferable vote, which means that votes are transferred between candidates until they reach a stipulated quota for election.

With the prospect of a hard land Border dividing the island of Ireland, the Sinn Féin president said the Stormont Assembly poll was a mandate for Northern Ireland to receive special designated status within the European Union.

When Foster's Sinn Fein deputy withdrew from the local administration, the U.K.'s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire was forced to announce a March 2 election.

"Of course, we're down to 90 seats now, not 108, so everbody's going to lose out on a seat or two".

President of the NUS in Northern Ireland, Fergal McFerran, told PinkNews: "Many commentators are making a variety of predictions about whether we'll have devolved government or direct rule at the end of this election period".

Sinn Fein wanted her to step aside during an investigation.

The constituency, where one in two voters did not cast a ballot last May, saw a 10 per cent increase in voter turnout.

During a televised debate on Tuesday, Michelle O'Neill, who replaced Mr McGuinness as the head of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland said the DUP's pro-Brexit view was "absolutely disgusting".

Euronews spoke to James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland about the potential consequences of a United Kingdom exit for relations between Northern Ireland and its southern neighbour, Ireland.

Relations between the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein had broken down over the handling of a botched renewable energy scheme.

The DUP's biggest challenge, unsurprisingly, comes from their former governmental partners, Sinn Fein (SF), where the contest for places looks far less assured.

London, Dublin and Brussels have all insisted they want to keep free movement across the Irish border - an arrangement dating from its creation in the 1920s.

The possibility of a return to checkpoints has revived memories of "The Troubles", three decades of strife in Northern Ireland over British control of the province, in which more than 3,500 people were killed.