The Assembly & Executive
What is the difference between theand the ?
The Assembly is the, or law-making body, made up of elected by the people of Northern Ireland to represent their views and make laws on their behalf. It meets in the of , in the grounds of the Stormont Estate in Belfast.
The– or ‘Executive’ – is the Government of Northern Ireland, made up of in charge of Government Departments. The Ministers are MLAs chosen by their parties, using the , which allocates seats on the Executive based on the number of seats parties win in the Assembly elections. The more MLAs a party has, the more Ministers it can appoint. In the 2011-16 mandate, there were 5 parties in the Executive. After the last election on 5 May 2016, the UUP and SDLP decided not to take their seats on the Executive (they were entitled to one each) and they now form the first Official Opposition in the Assembly. Currently, the DUP have 4 Ministers and Sinn Féin have 3. The Justice Minister is not appointed using d'Hondt but is elected by the Assembly and must have cross-community support, ie, from both unionists and nationalists.
Executive Office - First Minister and deputy First Minister
Department for Communities
Department for the Economy
Department of Health
Department of Education
Department of Finance
Department of Justice
Department for Infrastructure
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
The Executive Committee meets in Stormont Castle, also on the Stormont Estate. Its work is co-ordinated by the Executive Office (First and deputy First Minister).
Ministers are responsible for day to day government operational decisions within their own areas of responsibility. They get together as the Executive Committee to draw up the draftwhich have to be approved by the Assembly. The Executive also approves the introduction of Executive legislation to the Assembly.
As the elected body which appoints the Ministers, the Assembly must hold the Executive to account, scrutinising Ministers’ proposals for new
Play the video on the Assembly and Executive to see how D'hondt works.