Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Something Strange in the State of Stormont

There really are some strange goings on back home in the world of politicsNorthern Ireland style.

It looks like to get the Assembly up and running the leader of the second largest party is prepared to nominate the leader of the largest party for the role of First Minister. Nothing unusual about that you might think.

Until you realise that this means that Gerry Adams has offered to nominate the Rev Dr Ian Paisley for the top job. You can guess the reaction from the Free Presbyterian to the president of Sinn Fein, and you wouldn't be far off.

"I have very good news for Mr Adams - he can't do it," Mr Paisley said.

"There'll be no proposing of anybody who doesn't accept it and I certainly will not be accepting anything from Gerry Adams."

The offer was made to move things along at the business meeting when the Assmebly is recalled on 15 May, the plan is for the election of a new First Minister and Deputy First Minister to go ahead on 23 May. However, signs of how this may all turn out are conveyed by Mr Adams when he said:

"Do I believe Ian Paisley will be first minister? I don't know. I don't even know if he knows."

Many in Northern Ireland seem to have given up hope for the two biggest parties from the two extremes of the politcal divide getting their act together and actually getting down to the work that they were elected to do.

However as Mr Adams also said:

"But I'm sure [Dr Paisley] will be conscious of the irony involved in Sinn Fein preparing to go to Stormont to have him elected as first minister."

It's a shame that it is with irony and not reconciliation and progress that the offer appears to have been taken.

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