Newton Emerson: The paradox of Alliance’s Stormont surge

Party’s growth creates problems for restoration of an Assembly that cannot accommodate it

Alliance leader Naomi Long says her European victory was in large part driven by a public wish to see devolution restored. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Alliance leader Naomi Long says her European victory was in large part driven by a public wish to see devolution restored. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The extraordinary rise in support for Alliance in Northern Ireland represents a strong vote to restore Stormont. There is no paradox with this having occurred in local and European elections, held on separate dates this month.

Alliance’s growth reflects frustration with political paralysis in general, of which the collapse of devolution is the most potent example, surpassing even Brexit as an everyday concern. All parties reported demands on the doorsteps to return to Stormont during the council campaign. Alliance leader Naomi Long says her European victory was in large part driven by a public wish to see devolution restored. Sinn Féin and the DUP appear to be taking this on board.

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