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Voters in Northern Ireland head to the polls today, casting ballots in potentially historic nationwide elections. The country’s Irish nationalist Sinn Féin party appears set to become the largest member of the country’s 90-member parliament. It would mark the first time in more than 100 years the leading party was not a pro-British faction.
Created in 1920, the largely Protestant Northern Ireland is still considered part of the United Kingdom. The mostly Catholic Republic of Ireland—commonly referred to as simply “Ireland”—is a sovereign nation and comprises 80% of the island shared with its northern neighbor. The various fault lines have led to decades of tensions, including the turbulent period known as The Troubles. Sinn Féin has been associated with the Provisional Irish Republican Army, considered a terrorist organization by the UK.
Public support for Sinn Féin has actually decreased slightly since 2017. Its current advantage came from the collapse of the opposing Democratic Unionist Party.