Northern Ireland readies for Assembly elections

Northern Ireland could turn nationalist for the first time since the island’s 1921 partition as voters May 5 select 90 representatives to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The six-county appendage of Great Britain has historically been governed by its pro-union, predominantly Protestant majority, with Catholics generally favoring the island’s political reunification. Now, a potent mix of economic and social issues and changing demographics rival the “perennial preoccupation with orange versus green,” The Irish Times has said, while also conceding that “unionism versus nationalism retains its drama.”

One potential outcome: the nationalist Sinn Féin party win the most seats, as polling indicates, but a bloc of multiple unionist parties block it from taking the first minister leadership post. That could cause a stalemate that prevents a new Assembly from being seated.

Below are links to some pre-election guides and background sources. I’ll aggregate coverage as the results become clear by the May 7-8 weekend and beyond. MH

Stormont, the Northern Ireland Assembly building in Belfast.

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