In his post yesterday, Horseman has set out to put flesh on the bones of Jim Allister’s article on his website in which he sets out his plans to wreck the mechanism of power sharing in its present form.
Horseman rightly highlights the amendment to the Good Friday Agreement brought about under the St. Andrews Agreement whereby the party with the largest number of MLAs gets to nominate the First Minister.
According to Horseman, Allister’s plan depends for its success on
(a) The DUP losing 9 more seats than Sinn Fein
(b) Sinn Fein having the largest number of MLAs at Stormont
(c) the DUP refusing to nominate for Deputy First Minister.
Is (c) really likely to happen? The reality is that the offices of First Minister and Deputy First Minister hold equal power. The Assumption seems to be that the DUP leadership is incapable of swallowing its own pride.
There is one further possible scenario. That is that the UUP becomes the largest party. Would Sir Reg refuse to nominate the Deputy First Minister? I don’t think so.
Peter Robinson has to be asked what his party would do, given that scenario. The voters of Northern Ireland (particularly those who currently support the DUP) have the right to know that. Robinson would then be in rather a dilemma.
If he says he would not nominate for DFM, he leaves his party is open to accusations of (a) reneging on a constitutional arrangement which his own party negotiated (b) failing on their own promise to “control” Sinn Fein through power sharing. If he says that he will nominate, he will upset a large section of his own supporters who would find that too difficult to stomach and more likely vote for the TUV.
Jim Allister has set a nasty trap for Peter Robinson. He and the DUP will have great difficulty avoiding it.
Filed under: Conservative Party, DUP, Good Friday Agreement, Jim Allister, Peter Robinson, Power Sharing, St. Andrews agreement, TUV, Unionism | Tagged: Conservative Party, DUP, Good Friday Agreement, Jim Allister, Peter Robinson, Power Sharing, Sinn Fein, St. Andrews agreement, Tory-UUP linkup, TUV, Unionism | 5 Comments »