MADRID, 3 (EUROPE PRESS)
The chief minister of Northern Ireland, Paul Givan, has resigned from office this Thursday amid protests by his formation, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), against the part of the Brexit agreement that refers to the Northern Irish territory.
“Today is the end of what has been the privilege of my life, to serve as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland,” Givan told the media at a hotel in Belfast, reports ‘Belfast Telegraph’.
After this news, the president of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald, has urged the holding of early elections “in the absence of a functioning Executive.” As part of Givan’s resignation, her classmate Michelle O’Neill has also stepped down as the territory’s deputy prime minister.
McDonald has criticized Givan for making a decision based on the DUP’s “own political interests.” “We must be clear that the actions of the DUP have consequences,” she added.
“This is one of those defining moments. We can do so much better than this chaotic theater. Power sharing can work, but it can only work if the parties involved commit to it,” McDonald said.
However, the Sinn Féin leader has pointed out that the DUP’s decision is “clear evidence” that Northern Ireland is experiencing “a moment of real change and this includes the prospect of constitutional reform”, as stated in the Good Friday Agreement , reports ‘The Irish Times’.
The resignation of the chief minister takes place in a context marked by the protests of his formation against the Northern Ireland Protocol, the part of Brexit referring to the territory and that led the Minister of Agriculture, Edwin Poots, to prohibit later controls on Wednesday to the agreement, although they have been resumed this Thursday.
This protocol was agreed by the United Kingdom and the European Union to guarantee the free movement of goods across the land border with Ireland after the approval of Brexit, although unionist politicians have always rejected the measure, considering that it was a bad arrangement for the territory.
For the moment, the rest of the ministers should remain in their posts, although without the capacity to carry out new measures due to Givan’s decision to leave his post, which prevents the Stormont Government from functioning normally.
However, the current Assembly could already have its days numbered, since the next elections are scheduled for next May 5, so it should be dissolved at the end of March to start the electoral campaign.