Assembly delay in the pipeline..?

And relax…. It looks like Peter Hain may be floating another kite. This time, RTE speculates, he may be working on a plan to drop any requirement for fresh Assembly elections in May 07. The idea being, apparently, to give the current Assembly a chance to bed in. He has also (as Pete noted last night) quashed any idea of joint authority:

There is absolutely no question of joint authority or joint government at all. There is plenty of scope for practical co-operation provided through the architecture of the Good Friday Agreement cross-Border co-operation across a number of areas on energy, the economy, on child offending, on getting rid of unfair mobile phone roaming charges and having a single all-island mobile phone rate. On all those issues and many more, there is tremendous scope for future co-operation and, indeed, much of it is already taking place but there is no question of joint authority at all.


  • Henry94

    The only thing we know for sure about Joint Authority is that it won’t be called Joint Authority.

    Do unionists take Hain’s word. Shouldn’t they look for a signed pledge from Tony Blair just to be on the safe side?

  • Loyalist

    “The idea being, apparently, to give the current Assembly a chance to bed in.”

    Or alternatively to save the asses of the UUP and the Stoops who would get wiped in any fresh elections?

  • Jim

    No doubt this is to avoid the scenario of an alternative Unionist party or faction splitting the DUP mandate when it becomes clear that the DUP have entered into govt with SF.

  • Mickaline

    “There is absolutely no question of joint authority or joint government at all.”

    With this supposed guarentee and the liklihood of the seven “Super Councils” never coming to fruition if the assembly fails, what pressure are the DUP really under to make politics work?

  • slug

    I think the DUP want politics to work provided that the issue of the accountability of individual ministers is dealt with.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I don’t think this should be seen as as entirely unexpected development.

    The Government is keen to keep its Nov 24 deadline, but it will be aware that with an election a few months later, it is more likely that parties will harden their positions than compromise.

    My guess is that Hain thinks that by removing the ‘pressure’ of the election may help facilitate agreement.

  • heck

    what he is saying is

    “you micks can have elections when we think you will vote the way we want you to”

    is’nt british democracy a wonderful thing.

  • ingram


    No J/A ?

    I did tell you so.


  • fair_deal

    I’d personally need a lot of convincing on delaying the election. The electorate don’t like politicians trying to hide from them, one of the reasons they punished the UUP.

    Could the amendment enable bringing the election date forward too?

  • Rubicon

    Postponing the election due in May ’07 seems to be much more likely than bringing the election date forward – though, technically, both are possible.

    Bringing the election forward would pretty much nullify the importance of the November 24th deadline. I think the 2 governments are expecting the DUP to set up an executive by the 24th – not just agree to put the idea to the electorate.

    An election shortly following the formation of an executive is likely to destabilise it. If the British government postpone the election to afford some stability then why not? Since the election of November 2003 the politicians have yet to have a single Assembly session. Let them get on with what they were elected to do.

    What’s the point of an election in May ’07 when they’ve hardly anything to show an electorate as to what they’ve achieved (or failed to achieve)? I’d prefer to wait a short while if it means the politicians are required to return to the polls explaining what they’ve done to improve life in NI and avoid the green/orange coat trailing exercises that distract from such issues.

    I’m not convinced postponing an election would be particularly advantageous to any single party. An election would only occur if DUP agree to form an executive – do they want to be immediately thrown to the polls? SF will be fighting an election in the Republic in May ’07 won’t it? Both the UUP and SDLP are so badly damaged that they need a great deal more than a short postponement to change their fortunes.