No real surprises here but Naomi Long was officially endorsed by her party colleagues tonight as the leader of the Alliance Party.
Long has previously served as the party’s deputy leader under David Ford and was the MP for East Belfast from 2010-2015.
She has been credited for her work in building the Alliance party in her East Belfast constituency since she was elected to the Assembly in 2003.
Speaking about her vision for the party she said;
I am taking over a party in good health and in good spirits, one ready to grasp the opportunities which lie ahead for all in our society and poised to lead the renewal needed across Northern Ireland. There remains an important job to do, offering people a clear and ambitious alternative vision for the future, while helping create a united community which is progressive, liberal, fair and open.
Only a party which is itself progressive, liberal, fair and open can truly deliver that. Alliance is that party. The party has a diverse and vibrant membership, but what brings us together are our shared belief our society can thrive because of our differences, not in spite of them.
I want to reach out to those people and areas who might not be seen as traditionally Alliance, appeal to them and work to build a liberal and progressive future. In our increasingly diverse society, we can let difference divide us or we can celebrate it and make it our strength. As Alliance Leader, I want to do the latter.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs