Belfast Telegraph

DUP and Sinn Fein power blocs still in place, but emergence of new Left with its bread and butter politics catches the eye

Editor's Viewpoint

The results of the Assembly election are not yet fully known, but a recognisable pattern is emerging.

The DUP has polled well, and First Minister Arlene Foster has had a good election.

She may even increase the tally of 38 seats bequeathed by her predecessor Peter Robinson.

If so, she will be rewriting the political rules, with her party dominant.

There was some criticism of a negative strategy of "keep the others out", but it has worked for the DUP. Mrs Foster, with her mixture of charm and steely resolve, has come across as a breath of fresh air.

If she does return to Stormont with an increased mandate, it will highlight her claim to be First Minister of Northern Ireland for all - and pressure her to act accordingly.

Sinn Fein has emerged, not surprisingly, as the other power bloc, but the success of Gerry Carroll of People Before Profit shows that a substantial minority has broken with tradition and opted for bread and butter politics.

In Foyle Eamonn McCann is also in with a real chance of taking a seat for PBF. If he does so, there should be high-quality debate with Jim Allister.

There is disappointment for Mike Nesbitt and the UUP, which hoped to capitalise on recent gains.

The SDLP is facing similar disappointment despite the election of its leader Colum Eastwood, who has not had enough time to make a greater impact. It is difficult to see the way ahead for both parties, though being part of the official Opposition seems the best option.

Alliance, despite its leadership, does not seem to have had a good election either.

The political horse-trading will begin next week and there are many major issues facing Northern Ireland, including the EU referendum.

Our politicians have a great deal on their minds, and there will be keen interest in how the departmental portfolios will be handed out.

We wish them well.

Belfast Telegraph


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