There is confirmation that new elections for a regional assembly in Northern Ireland will be held on March 7. This from the British and Irish leaders after a meeting in London. Tony Blair repeated his optimism that a power-sharing assembly can be formed:
“The basis upon which these elections go ahead should be very clear: it is that on the one side there is proper support for the rule of law, for the courts, the criminal justice system and the police, and on the other side a commitment to power sharing by the 26th of March.”
A breakthrough came when the nationalist Sinn Fein party led by Gerry Adams recently voted to end decades of opposition to the province’s police force. Observers say the election sends a clear signal that Blair believes he’s on track to meet the March 26 deadline of restoring the assembly, suspended since 2002. The aim is to allow Protestant unionists and the mostly Catholic nationalists to share power in the British province.