Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Northern Ireland Assembly
The Northern Ireland Assembly is a 108-member legislative body for Northern Ireland that sits at Stormont with powers devolved to it from the Westminster parliament. It is created as a power sharing body, so that every party is represented in the executive body of the assembly in numbers according to their numerical strength in the assembly as a whole.
The assembly was created as part of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 and the first election to it was held on June 25, 1998. The initial executive was headed by David Trimble as First Minister. On December 2, 1999 the United Kingdom devolved political power in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Executive.  The Lord Alderdice served as the only regular speaker of the Assembly thus far, although he has retired to serve as part of the current Independent Monitoring Commission that supervises much of the cease-fire.
The assembly was suspended on October 14, 2002 as Unionists walked out of the Executive after refusing to share power with Sinn Fein whose offices at Stormont had just been raided by Police investigating terrorist intelligence gathering by members of their support staff. The assembly dissolved on April 28, 2003 as it was scheduled to, but the elections due the following month were postponed by the British Labour government. These elections were held on November 26.
The 108 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are elected from 18 multi-member constituencies (the same constituencies used for Westminster elections) by the Single Transferable Vote.
The current state of the parties in the Assembly is as follows (1998 figures are in italics):
||Democratic Unionist Party: 33||20
||Ulster Unionist Party: 24||28
||Sinn Féin: 24||18
||Social Democratic and Labour Party: 18||24
||Alliance Party of Northern Ireland: 6||6
||UK Unionist Party: 1||5
||Progressive Unionist Party: 1||2|
|Northern Ireland Women's Coalition: 0||2
|Independent Unionists: 0||3
The Independent MLA is Dr. Kieran Deeney (West Tyrone)
Note: Since the election, three Ulster Unionist Assembly members, Jeffrey Donaldson, Nora Beare and Arlene Foster have moved to the Democratic Unionists.
- Northern Ireland Assembly Election, 1998
- Northern Ireland Assembly Election, 2003
- Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly
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