The leaders of Northern Ireland’s largest political party agreed to step down only three weeks after taking office. This is the dramatic culmination of the debate over how to continue the power-sharing government in the region.
Edwin Putz announced his resignation as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in an email statement four hours after meeting with Democratic Unionist officials in Belfast. He will continue to hold office until his successor is appointed.
The creationist who came to power promised to take a tougher stance on basic trade union issues, and is expected to face after despising the party and actually agreeing to make concessions with the nationalist party Sinn Fein to save the power-sharing government. The vote of no confidence collapsed.
“This is a difficult time for the party and the country,” Putz said in his resignation statement, adding that he “has conveyed my determination to the chairman and I will do my best to ensure that both the union and Northern Ireland can Move forward to a stronger place”.
Earlier on Thursday, Poots ignored the DUP vote and nominated Paul Givan as the new chief minister of Northern Ireland. This allowed the continuation of the power-sharing government of Stormont and Sinn Fein. The Sinn Fein party has persuaded Westminster to speed up legislation to promote the Irish language.
DUP members oppose both the principle of London intervention and the fact that Sinn Fein has won concessions.
The resistance to Poots is the latest sign of turmoil in Northern Ireland, which has been exacerbated by the terms of the Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
DUP senior councillor Sammy Wilson publicly criticized Poots’ nomination of Givan on Thursday afternoon and refused to rule out a vote of no confidence in his leadership.
“The numbers are worse than against Arlene [Foster]”A person familiar with the situation said before meeting with party officials, referring to Putz’s predecessor who was dismissed in April after losing the support of Democratic Unionist politicians.
Sinn Fein has stated that it will remain in the government only if Stormont quickly approves legislation to improve the status of the Irish language.
The DUP refused, but when the British government said it would pass legislation in Westminster, the deadlock was broken on Wednesday night.
This cleared the way for Putz to nominate Shay as Foster’s successor as the first minister of Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein once again nominated Michel O’Neill as Deputy Chief Minister.
But Wilson said that in a vote earlier on Thursday, DUP members and members of the party in Stormont “very, very clearly” stated that they opposed Poots’ immediate nomination of Givan.
When talking about Putz, Wilson added: “If someone puts aside the strong views of various departments in the party and moves on, it is difficult to have confidence in anyone.”
“I assure most unionists… will be shocked by the power of parliament… be put aside to promote the niche interests of Sinn Fein.”
Poots has stated that he proposed Givan without the “sincere prerequisites”, with the goal of making Northern Ireland “a better place for everyone”.
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said on Wednesday that she had asked Westminster to intervene because it was “very clear” that DUP would not prioritize Irish language legislation.
Poots served as DUP leader for less than three weeks, and after Brexit played an important role in her removal of DUP leader and first minister, she succeeded Foster.
Deirdre Heenan, a professor of social policy at Ulster University, said earlier that “it is difficult to exaggerate the strategic politics and strategic failure of the Putz coup.”
“That DUP [members at Stormont] Members of Congress voted against the nomination of the first minister reflecting the anger and confusion within the party,” she added.