Belfast power-sharing faces Monday deadline for destruction

Belfast power-sharing faces Monday deadline for destruction

DUBLIN — The Northern Ireland Assembly faces likely dissolution for an election that could make revival of a Catholic-Protestant government more difficult.

The British government faces an immediate deadline to announce election plans because the main Irish nationalist party, Sinn Fein, has refused to fill its top post in the assembly by Monday’s deadline.

Power-sharing between British Protestants and Irish Catholics is the cornerstone of Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord. But a nearly decade-old coalition led by Sinn Fein and the major Protestant-backed party, the Democratic Unionists, faces collapse following the resignation of Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister.

Minutes after the assembly convened, Sinn Fein officials confirmed they would not nominate anyone to fill that essential power-sharing post.

Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster accused Sinn Fein of undermining Northern Ireland’s stability.

The Associated Press