The Democratic Unionist Party walked out of government in 2022 over post-Brexit trade rules. But on Tuesday, the party said it would return to power-sharing after negotiating with the British government.
The Democratic Unionist Party, the main Protestant party in Northern Ireland and one of its biggest political forces, said on Tuesday that it was ready to return to power sharing after a boycott of almost two years had paralyzed decision-making in the region.
After an internal meeting that stretched into the early morning, Jeffrey Donaldson, leader of the party, known as the D.U.P., said at a news conference that he had been mandated to support a new deal, negotiated with the British government, under which his party would return to Northern Ireland’s governing assembly.
“Over the coming period we will work alongside others to build a thriving Northern Ireland firmly within the union for this and succeeding generations,” Mr. Donaldson said. He added, however, that the return to power sharing was conditional on the British government’s legislating to enshrine a new set of measures that had not yet been made public.
The decision by the D.U.P., which represents those who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom, will be welcomed by many voters frustrated by the political stalemate, as well as by the British and Irish governments, which have both put pressure on the party to end the deadlock.
But it could also herald a seismic shift in the territory’s history, opening the door for Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist party, to hold for the first time the most senior political role of “first minister” rather than “deputy first minister.”
Sinn Fein is committed to the idea of a united Ireland, in which Northern Ireland would join the Republic of Ireland, rather than remain part of the United Kingdom.