Does Sinn Féin want to govern?

Sinn Féin unquestionably had a good Assembly Election, not just because its vote rose and the gap between it and the DUP fell to just one seat, but because its decision to have the election cost it just one incumbent and enabled new (predominantly youthful, female) MLAs to be elected top of the poll.

Electorally, therefore, Sinn Féin has earned a solid mandate. That leaves an obvious problem, however – what does it want to do with it?

The party’s case, that Arlene Foster’s actions smacked at best of incompetence and that Paul Givan’s and others were pure disrespect, was not without merit and the (Nationalist) electorate agreed. But what does a solution to this look like?

The question, ultimately, is simple. Does Sinn Féin want to govern?

The answer to this question, as it knows, will be watched across the island of Ireland. Until now, instability has generally suited Sinn Féin and, perhaps partly because success breeds success, it now lies second in the polls in the Republic of Ireland ahead of Fine Gael.

Ultimately, however, voters are not in the current global context in the mood for further instability. Brexit, Trump, ScotRef and everything else are quite enough, and the experience of the Troika and the Irish property meltdown is raw. If candidates wish to be taken seriously as governing parties in Dublin, they may have to offer change but they will definitely have to offer stability.

Therefore, while many things are falling its way, Sinn Féin too is at a crossroads. Does it actually wish to govern? Because it is not just the Secretary of State who is capable of “waffle”!

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One thought on “Does Sinn Féin want to govern?

  1. korhomme says:

    To put it another way; SF was a party of protest, has it moved on from there.

    Likewise, the DUP was a party of protest.

    Are either of them ‘natural parties of government’?

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