- Givan replaces Foster ousted after Sinn Fein membership
- New DUP leader Poots appoints against his own party’s will
- DUP senior MP refuses to express confidence in Poots
DUBLIN, June 17 (Reuters) – Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party leader Edwin Poots is due to step down just three weeks after taking office, he said in a statement.
“I asked the party chairman to start an electoral process within the party to allow the election of a new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party,” Poots said.
Hours earlier, Poots had opposed 24 of his party’s 28 regional lawmakers to appointing a new premier for the British province, a party source said.
They had been angered by a decision by the London government to speed up the introduction of Irish language rights in a bid to convince Irish nationalists in Sinn Fein to support the nomination.
Poots’ ally Paul Givan, 39, has been confirmed as head of Northern Ireland’s power-sharing executive – put in place by the 1998 peace deal that ended 30 years sectarian violence – with the consent of Sinn Fein.
Poots’ resignation adds to political instability in Northern Ireland, which is at the center of a trade feud between Britain and the European Union and has seen street violence fueled by anger over restrictions on the trade with the rest of the UK.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Michael Perry
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