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The past eight weeks have rocked Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist party to its core, perhaps terminally. So it is not surprising that most of the DUP has reacted to the unopposed election of Sir Jeffrey Donaldson as the party's third leader since Easter with something like exhausted relief.

It may therefore prove less bothersome if Mr Givan, installed only last week in a manoeuvre that backfired spectacularly on Mr Poots, stays on for a while, until Sir Jeffrey can join the Northern Ireland assembly and take over.

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A Stormont election looms. It may have to be brought forward if the deal on Irish language legislation struck with Sinn Féin and the UK government by Mr Poots last week is not carried out by September.

But a more volatile possibility is barely a fortnight away, with the start of the main marching season on 12 July. With unionist opposition so aroused over the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol, which creates a trade border with Britain in the Irish Sea, this threatens to be a very hot political summer.

by Oui on Fri Jun 25th, 2021 at 06:03:14 AM EST

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