UK: Boris Johnson’s local elections tested and crucial for Northern Ireland

Britons will vote in local elections on Thursday that will give an idea of ​​the damage the “party door” scandal will do to Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, and promise to be crucial for Northern Ireland, where Sinn Fein Republicans hope for victory. Historical.

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Replacing thousands of seats in local councils in England, Scotland and Wales will allow voters to express their opinions at the polls for the first time after months of revealing which parties were held in Downing Street during lockdown.

Thus, in the event of poor results, some of the waiting majority MPs could be persuaded to withdraw their support for Boris Johnson, who is determined to remain in power despite the fine received, which is unprecedented for a prime minister in office.

Far from the grief of Westminster, a political earthquake looms in Northern Ireland as polls give Sinn Féin the lead in the local assembly for the first time in the British province of 1.9 million, 100-year history. Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Polling stations open at 06:00 GMT on Thursday and close at 21:00 GMT, with the first results appearing overnight from Thursday to Friday in England and then extending into the weekend.

“hostage”

In Northern Ireland, a vote could redefine the United Kingdom. The campaign’s latest poll gives an eight-point lead for Sinn Féin, in favor of reunification with the Republic of Ireland, ahead of the Unionists from the DUP, the first party in the outgoing assembly, and neck-and-neck with the Center Party coalition. .

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A Sinn Fein victory, the former political bid of the IRA, would propel his deputy, Michelle O’Neill, to the position of head of local government, supposedly bringing together nationalists and unionists under the 1998 peace agreement.

But it can also lead to paralysis.

During the last election debate on the BBC on Tuesday, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson warned his party to refuse to set up a new executive unless the UK government suspends the province’s special status post-Brexit, undermining Loyalists’ ties to the rest of the UK.

Michelle O’Neill accused him of “taking Northern Ireland hostage”. She asserted that her party, which has fought a left-wing campaign insisting on a purchasing power crisis, was not “obsessed” with the vote on reunification.

Commerçante dans un quartier unioniste de Belfast, Alaine Allen an exprimé à l’AFP son inquiétude concernant une possible victoire du Sinn Fein mais s’est montrée critique du DUP: «J’espère qu’ils vont gagner pour netra person mais The people.”

inflation

Across the rest of the UK, these local elections, which generally mobilize very little, will reveal the state of mind of voters toward the Conservatives in power, after their management of the pandemic has been criticized and their actions seen as insufficient to help suffocating families. By inflation and “Partigate”.

The popularity of Boris Johnson, 57, who will soon be three in Downing Street, collapsed after the scandal that earned him a fine and calls for his resignation. He has so far weathered the storm, highlighting his leading role in Western support for Ukraine, but Thursday’s disastrous results may change that.

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To make matters worse, he had issues on TV towards the end of the campaign on the topic of purchasing power.

Labor, the main opposition party, hopes to capitalize on its weaknesses, even if its leader, Keir Starmer, 59, is accused of breaching health rules for sharing beer and curry with his team during an April 2021 trip.

Labor hopes to win seats in London, including traditional conservative strongholds such as Westminster, Wandsworth, Kensington and Chelsea.

Labor also wants to restore its former strongholds that became Conservative at the last election in 2019 in northern and central England.

In Dudley (North), Bob, a retired Labor party worker, will vote to “protest,” he explained to AFP: “What drives people crazy is the cost of living, food is costing more and more, and energy too.”

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