Northern Ireland Assembly to meet for first time since election

DUP and Sinn Féin to lead new power-sharing government following poll

A taxi sits outside Parliament Buildings in Stormont, Belfast. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A taxi sits outside Parliament Buildings in Stormont, Belfast. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

The Northern Ireland Assembly will meet for the first time since the election today to elect first and deputy first ministers.

DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness will lead the new powersharing administration after last week’s poll saw their parties returned as the largest in the devolved Stormont legislature.

After that they will have two weeks to produce a programme for government for a new ministerial Executive which will aim to create 50,000 jobs while dealing with the Troubles legacy.

The Ulster Unionists are considering whether to return to the Executive after a hiatus following a killing by members of the Provisional IRA last summer a decade after the armed group was thought to have decommissioned all weapons and disappeared.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt has said a recent police assessment on IRA structures does not make a re-entry any more attractive.

An independent examination ordered by the Government said all the main Troubles paramilitary organisations retained structures, though their leaders were committed to the peace process.

The UUP, Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) and other smaller Stormont parties are mulling whether to join a DUP-Sinn Féin-led administration or form an opposition.

A new Speaker of the Assembly will be elected and the 108 members will sign an undertaking and membership roll.