Evolution of Devolution
How has history influenced the way theand operate today?
On 2 December 1999, the UK Parliamentpowers to the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time. was not new to Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Parliament and Executive, which governed Northern Ireland between 1921 and 1972, were also a devolved government. When they were suspended in 1972, Northern Ireland came under from Westminster.
The Northern Ireland Assembly model of devolution is very different from the older model. The Northern Ireland Parliament and Executive were elected using aelectoral system based on the Westminster system. The party that won a majority of the seats in the election formed the government. This was always the Unionist Party.
The system of devolved government established by the(1998) is a power-sharing, of democracy. The political scientist, Arend Lijphart, designed this model of democracy for societies where there has been, or is potential for, conflict. The Northern Ireland model is unique. It takes account of our political history. It is a power-sharing arrangement between the two main political communities in Northern Ireland, unionist and nationalist.
The positions ofand are shared between the two communities. The two have equal powers and must agree on all decisions made by the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMdFM).
The Executive Committee of Ministers is a, determined by a mathematical formula known as the . This ensures that both communities share these positions of power.
The Assembly has special voting procedures to prevent one community dominating the other. These procedures ensure that certain Assembly decisions have.
Many events influenced the model of devolution we have today – view information, archive photos and video footage on our Evolution of Devolution timeline.