SDLP delegates gathered in Newry today to debate the proposed partnership with Fianna Fail.
After spending the afternoon debating the proposal, members have voted in favour of the partnership.
The result of the ballot was 121 delegates in favour of partnership with Fianna Fail (70%).
The support in favour of the alternative proposal of partnership with Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail was 53 (30%).
Follow the vote the SDLP Leadership issued this message;
Today SDLP members have voted in favour of establishing a formal policy partnership with Fianna Fáil
The SDLP has a strong history of making tough decisions in the interests of the people we represent. This was not an easy choice for party members but they have again shown a willingness to put the interests of people first.
We understand that the political environment across these islands is changing rapidly. Parties, too, must be prepared to embrace change and respond to the challenges we all face. Business as usual is no longer an option.
Together, SDLP and Fianna Fáil members, representatives and activists will forge a new relationship based on our proud and shared tradition of democratic struggle on this island. We will work together to begin in an unprecedented programme of public engagement in Northern Ireland, framing an ambitious and practical policy agenda for the future of this island and our people.
This partnership will be built on a genuine desire to deliver for people across Ireland, driven by an ambition to see power returned to local politicians and tasked with changing the lives of people who have for too long been let down by our politics here.
For some members this decision will not have been their desired outcome. The leadership recognise and are sensitive to that fact. We will be reaching out to all strands within our party in the coming weeks and months to ensure we move forward together.
David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs