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Northern Ireland’s government is coming back after a two-year break.

The divided government in Northern Ireland is going to be brought back, exactly two years after it fell apart. A meeting of the legislative assembly at Stormont in Belfast today (Saturday) at 13:00 GMT will bring the institutions that share power back to life.

An Irish nationalist will be the first minister in the government for the first time.

After stopping its boycott over Brexit trade rules, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) called for Stormont to be recalled.

It has been two years since the DUP got rid of its first minister in protest against moving things between Northern Ireland and Great Britain having to go through more checks and paperwork.

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The move brought down the power-sharing executive, and the party has been blocking the revival of the institutions ever since.

But on Monday, the DUP decided to go back to Stormont as part of a deal with the government that was meant to ease unionists’ worries about Northern Ireland’s place in the UK’s internal market.

What’s going to happen today?
Members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) will choose a new speaker as their first task.

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As soon as the speaker is chosen, the parties that can lead the executive (the body in Northern Ireland that makes decisions and policies) will put forward their candidates for ministerial posts.

Now that Sinn Féin has the most seats in the assembly (May 2022), it will choose a first minister for the first time. The job will be filled by Michelle O’Neill, who is vice-president of the Irish Republican Party.

The DUP will choose a deputy first minister for the first time. They are the biggest unionist party. People have thought that Emma Little-Pengelly might be chosen, but the DUP hasn’t said for sure what its plans are.

The first and assistant first ministers work together and have the same amount of power. However, Ms O’Neill’s appointment as the first Republican first minister of Northern Ireland is seen as a major turning point for Irish nationalism.

Lots of talk has been going on before the assembly meeting about which areas Stormont parties might take.

The third-largest party in the assembly, the Alliance Party, has not said for sure if they will join the government. However, Naomi Long, the party’s leader, was justice minister before.

A vote from people from different communities, not the D’Hondt system, decides who gets the job. The D’Hondt system decides how many of the other seven departments each party gets and in what order.

The Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) said it would join the government instead of running as an official opposition party.

Photo by Osama Madlom on Unsplash

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