How is a party's alignment decided in the NI assembly?

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The Politicus
Oct 02, 2022 09:44 PM 0 Answers
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Political parties in NI are classified as unionist, nationalist, or other. The DUP is unionist, and Sinn Féin is nationalist. The centrist Alliance is other, as is the far-left People Before Profit. Below is the composition of the assembly.

Party Seats Designation
Sinn Féin 27 N
DUP 25 U
Alliance 17 O
UUP 9 U
SDLP 8 N
TUV 1 U
PBP 1 O
Independent Unionist 2 U

The devolved government must include both nationalists and unionists. But who decides which party is what? If the Alliance wanted to game the system, change their designation to unionist, and invite the UUP MLAs to cross the floor, they would be the largest unionist party. They'd then be able to form a government alongside Sinn Féin - or would there still be some obstacle?

I realise a party may not wish to change its designation, but if it wants to, what are its limitations?

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  • October 2, 2022