The people of the UK have started voting in regional elections this Thursday (5), which will inflict the brunt of the “party gate” scandal. In Northern Ireland, nationalists from the Sinn Féin party are hoping for a historic victory.
The polling stations opened at 7 am local time (3:00 am in Brasília) and are open until 20:00 (16:00 in Brasília). Prime Minister Boris Johnson voted with his dog Dilyn at a school in central London this morning.
Initial results will be announced Thursday night, but will have to wait until Friday (the 6th) or Saturday (the 7th) to know the final results.
In England, Wales and Scotland, voters elect 146 city councils, including 32 of London’s boroughs. These elections serve as a barometer of Johnson’s popularity and should show whether Britons continue to trust the Conservative Party despite scandals involving the prime minister, who was fined for participating in Downing Street parties during the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The police investigation continues and the prime minister may be fined again. He will also be subject to investigation by a parliamentary commission to determine whether he lied to lawmakers while making sure he wasn’t breaking local rules where he lived and worked.
The prime minister, who is seen as a “liar” by most British opinion polls, has so far managed to evade resignation. But internal rebellion in the Conservative Party, calmed by the Ukraine war, could rekindle and trigger a no-confidence vote to replace its leader.
nationalism and inflation
In Northern Ireland the difficulty is different. The election defines the regional parliament from which the new local self-government must emerge. For the first time, Sinn Fein nationalists asserted themselves as the main political force in the region.
The latest poll shows the party – with 26% of the vote – an eight-point advance in favor of reunification with the Republic of Ireland and supported by Catholics.
A historic victory for the legend, a former political arm of the IRA (Irish Republican Army), would lead vice president Michelle O’Neil to the post of head of local government. If that happens, it will have the mission to unite the nationalists with the Protestant monarchists of the DUP, with 19% of the vote and in favor of keeping Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom.
The main goal of Sinn Fein is the reunification of Ireland. But during these elections, O’Neill focused more on pressing social issues such as inflation and the rising cost of living.
Elsewhere in the country, particularly in the UK, Labor, Britain’s first opposition party, is trying to capitalize on Johnson’s decline in popularity to retake strongholds of the left that the Conservatives won in the 2019 parliamentary election.
(with information from AFP)