Arlene Foster may have won the second round of votes, but one cannot deny the significance of her setback in the first round. The DUP's future seems uncertain now. It is no wonder the former #northern ireland first minister has just commented that that this is 'a very good day' for #Sinn Fein. But have the nationalists' gains been triggered by #Brexit anxiety?
Sky's Ireland Correspondent David Blevins said the increased turnout from Republicans has been provoked by the disastrous energy renewal scheme and anger over Brexit. With the DUP expected to reclaim 30 of their 38 seats and Sinn Fein predicted to retain their 28 seats, there will be a difference of two seats between the unionist and nationalist parties. So negotiations will be tougher than last year.
The 'Brexit effect'
However, this 'Brexit effect' will not substantiate into a sudden bid for reunification. If the Government can succeed in preserving open borders with the Republic, then that should lessen Northern Ireland's Brexit anxieties. And if EIRE chooses to rejoin the Commonwealth and if Euroscepticism rises in Southern Ireland as a result of last year's corporation tax scandal and future EU controversies, the only uncertainty is the Republic's future in the EU, not Northern Ireland's place in the UK post-Brexit.
So Foster is right; this is a good result for Sinn Fein. But once the Brexit effect lessens, don't expect their luck to substantiate further.