LONDON (Sputnik) — UK Prime Minister Theresa May urged the leaders of the main Northern Irish parties, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein, to agree on a shared local government as soon as possible, a Downing Street spokesperson said on Wednesday.
"In separate phone calls the Prime Minister made clear the importance of restoring a power-sharing Executive to Northern Ireland as soon as possible and she recognized their continued leadership towards reaching an agreement… They discussed key outstanding issues that remain for both parties and the Prime Minister encouraged both leaders to come to an agreement soon in the interests of everyone in Northern Ireland," the spokesperson said in a statement, issued on the UK government's website.
The Northern Irish system of government requires the regional parliament be led by a coalition of the largest unionist and nationalist parties, or by either of these with a third party. Since the March vote, the two major Northern Irish political parties were not able to reach an agreement on forming the government. London did not rule out a return to direct governance of the region if local political parties fail to form a government.