Belfast Telegraph

Poll: Belfast Telegraph readers vote for Northern Ireland Assembly election

Belfast Telegraph Digital readers say its time to return to the polls. Pic from the 2017 Assembly election count. Pic Press Eye.
Belfast Telegraph Digital readers say its time to return to the polls. Pic from the 2017 Assembly election count. Pic Press Eye.
Jonathan Bell

By Jonathan Bell

Belfast Telegraph Digital readers have said it is time for another Northern Ireland Assembly election.

Over 4,600 votes were made in our Facebook poll in the space of 24 hours on if there should be another Assembly Election. Almost 60% said it was time for a return to the ballot box.

It comes after the  Secretary of State bid to again postpone her legal requirement to call an election to October - with an extension to January if needed. The deadline has already been extended from March to August.

There has been an onus to call an election since the parties failed to form an Executive after the last Assembly election in March 2017.

The Electoral Commission expressed its concern it was a "serious step" in a democracy to defer elections.

Karen Bradley described the measure as a "sensible contingency plan" to ensure good governance. She said she believed a deal between the parties could be reached in the coming weeks, but said she had to plan for every scenario.

In response Sinn Fein said it was time for the people to have their say through an election.

However, the DUP said the "sensible way forward" was for the restoration of the Assembly and to hold parallel talks to resolve the outstanding issues. Citing the five elections and referendum since 2016, Nigel Dodds said it was "hardly a strong case of people being denied their say".

Sinn Fein has said it is time for an election if power sharing can not be restored - what do you think?

Posted by Belfast Telegraph on Thursday, July 4, 2019

In our non-scientific Facebook poll 59% said it was time to vote. However, the majority of the over 230 comments appeared to be against the idea of another election as it would see a return of the "same old, same old".

Many suggested an election should be run but all candidates had to pledge to take their seats. Others said the only option was for direct rule.

"What is the point of an election, the same two parties will be top dogs again and we are back to square one. No thanks," said Andy McCrory.

Keith Scott added: "I'd have an election every week if there was any chance of it leading to the electorate eventually moving away from the same old same old 'vote against who you don't want instead of voting for who you do want'.

While Gavin Taylor said it was a "pointless exercise" if the parties would not sit in government together.

"To people saying why bother, same old stuff... You don't have to vote DUP or SF," added Paul Elliott.

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