Why are we letting abstainers call all the shots in NI politics?

Sinn Fein's leader, Mary Lou McDonald (right) with party colleagues speaking to the media after a meeting with Sinn Fein's negotiating team at Stormont, Belfast on Monday April 29, 2019. Photo: David Young/PA Wire
Sinn Fein's leader, Mary Lou McDonald (right) with party colleagues speaking to the media after a meeting with Sinn Fein's negotiating team at Stormont, Belfast on Monday April 29, 2019. Photo: David Young/PA Wire

Two democratic phenomena – the local elections and inter-party talks – couldn’t be more different.

In the local elections those who vote determine the result, while those who abstain play no part at all.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

In the inter-party talks, those who abstain control and veto everything, while those who would want to participate are disallowed.

To solve the stalemate at Stormont, let the MLAs

(s)elect the Executive, and if some members prefer to abstain, never mind; just let those who do want to work get on with it.

Peter Emerson, De Borda Institute (which describes itself as ‘promiting use of inclusive voting procedures on all contentious questions of social choice’), Belfast BT14