Martin McGuinness’ dramatic resignation as Deputy First Minister puts an inquiry into Stormont’s renewable heat scheme on the back burner.
The controversy which lead to the senior Sinn Fein figure standing down will become a key issue in any election campaign.
Sinn Fein is to refuse to replace Martin McGuinness in an attempt to force a new Assembly election.
And there is doubt over whether the veteran Foyle MLA, whose health has been in question in recent times, would return to the post on the far side of an election.
After seven days with no renomination for the position, Secretary of State James Brokenshire has a “reasonable” period of time to call the election.
Under the legislation an election should then follow six weeks later
But already there has been speculation on who might be the most likely successor, with the prospect of a potential Sinn Fein First Minister also likely to become a key component of an election campaign.
Conor Murphy appeals in pole position, according to some sources, but but other names, including national chairperson Declan Kearney and Finance Minister Mairtin O’Muilleoir are also being mentioned.