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To be clear, the DUP has even refused to elect a speaker which means the newly elected Assembly can't meet. Johnson's reported deal with them will facilitate the election of a speaker, but NOT the formation of a new Executive, which would mean their ministerial representation under the d'Hondt system would be reduced to two, and they would only be able to nominate a deputy first Minister with Michelle O'Neill (SF) as First Minister.

That is their nightmare scenario and the word is they are hoping for a "win" on the Protocol to enable them to get the Secretary of State to call a new election where they would hope to emerge as the largest party and beat SF to the First Minister role.

That is an unlikely but not a totally unrealistic hope in that it was the TUV improved performance of 8% in the last election which they blame for at least some of their seat loses.

SF would certainly not refuse to nominate a First Minister as that would be a historic first for a nationalist in N. Ireland and of extreme symbolic if not practical significance.

However, if the DUP say they will allow the Assembly to meet by helping to elect a Speaker but will NOT allow the formation of an Executive then SF would be in their rights to not allow the election of a Speaker on the grounds that:

  1. Not appointing an executive frustrates the democratic decision of the N. Ireland people
  2. An Assembly without an Executive to propose and implement legislation and executive decisions is just a talking shop
  3. They would not wish to be complicit in a deal to break international law and dis-apply the Protocol, and
  4. They would like to remind Boris that it is they (and not the DUP who have always opposed the GFA) who are the GFA's true custodians and that it takes two sides to make a deal.
  5. The GFA calls on the British government to act impartially and to give "equality of esteem" to both political traditions in N. Ireland, and yet the Boris administration has shamelessly conspired with the DUP at every turn.
  6. Boris has justified his support for the DUP as necessary to "protect the GFA" and the Attorney General, Suella Braverman, a Brexiteer has provided legal cover for breaking international law by claiming that the GFA has "Primordial" significance over the Protocol - a new concept in international law. The fact is that it is Brexit, if anything, which broke the GFA, and the Protocol is just a minor mitigation of Brexit for NI. SF could blow up this whole pretence by refusing to elect a Speaker unless the DUPagree to the election of an Executive, something they probably won't agree to do. Then it will be Boris & Co. who will be seen to have broken the GFA by their partisan support for the DUP and its refusal to allow the formation of an Executive - a GFA institution.
  7. It should also be noted that the Belfast High Court found the DUP broke the law by refusing to operate the north south institutions of the GFA (and the Boris Administration has effectively mothballed the East west institutions- strand 3 of the GFA).

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 12th, 2022 at 06:56:42 PM EST
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