Who are the DUP?

The results are in: a hung parliament. The Conservatives have 318, forecasted to get one more, making the final tally to 319 – this is short of the 326 seats needed to form a majority government. The Conservatives need 7 seats more – so will look for other parties to form a coalition government.

Enter the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the largest party currently in Northern Ireland, as they have 10 seats out of the 18 seats available in Northern Ireland. The DUP are, as the name suggests, a pro-unionist party who believe that Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom. They are seen by many as fundamentalist Christians whom strongly oppose abortions and same-sex marriages.

The reason the Conservatives will form a government with the DUP is because the Conservatives are also a unionist party, their official name is the Conservative and Unionist Party. The Tories might have modernised their views in terms of abortions and gay marriage, but they still keep close ties with their Unionist comrades in Northern Ireland. Most crucially, the DUP campaigned for Brexit too, so they’ll most likely ask not only more funding for Northern Ireland, but also for key roles in the Brexit negotiations.

Sinn Féin, Northern Irelands second largest party with 7 seats, campaigned against Brexit, and against the Tories, but they might have helped the Tories because Sinn Féin, which is an Irish Republican party which wants Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join the Republic of Ireland, do not take their seats in Westminster for historical reasons, so in reality you can take away the 7 seats from the 326 seats needed – this makes life for the Conservatives slightly easier.

One thing is clear from the election results – Theresa May gambled and lost. Calls for her resignation within Conservative circles will grow large.

by Berk Bektas

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