Northern Ireland Prime Minister Arlene Foster resigns due to unstable Brexit | News | DW
Arlene Foster officially stepped down as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland on Monday, adding to instability in the province where uncertainty reigns over post-Brexit trade deals.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is about to appoint the social-conservative Paul Givan as Foster’s successor.
However, if the nationalist Sinn Fein party refuses to appoint a deputy prime minister, the region’s executive will disintegrate and snap elections could follow.
Sinn Fein insisted that the appointments of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister must be accompanied by the implementation of the cultural elements of the New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) agreement which restored the executive power-sharing last year.
The NDNA includes protections for the Ulster Irish and Scottish languages.
But the new DUP chief Edwin Poots told BBC Radio Ulster that although he is “engaged in all aspects of NDNA”, the Irish language provision would not be a prerequisite for choosing a first minister.
Brexit clouds weigh heavily
Outgoing Foster called for keeping a cool head, but warned that “politics in Northern Ireland, between the UK and Ireland, and the UK and the EU, are unbalanced, an imbalance created by the protocol”.
Foster said the protocol, which since the start of the year has effectively kept Northern Ireland in the EU’s customs union and the single market in goods, “is not a true partnership”.
“An imbalance and instability are built in, which will fester and deteriorate,” she said.
“The imbalance and instability in the context of Northern Ireland is a really dangerous cocktail.”
Foster, who took power in 2016, was ousted from the DUP in April after a majority of her lawmakers accused her of mismanaging Brexit negotiations.
jsi / aw (AFP, Reuters, dpa)