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Friday, 26 June, 1998, 10:54 GMT
The assembly explained


Dr Sydney Elliott, senior lecturer in politics at Queen's University, Belfast, explains how the Northern Ireland Assembly will work.

Click on the links below for a detailed explanation of each area of his analysis:


The Northern Ireland assembly will have 108 members, elected under the proportional representation system known as Single Transferable Vote.

The assembly will have powers in the areas currently run by Northern Ireland government departments.

There will be committees for each executive department. The members of these will be made up according to the d'Hont system to ensure that each party is represented according to the level of its support.

The executive powers of the assembly will be discharged by a First Minister and a Deputy. They will be supported by 10 ministers - again chosen by the d'Hont method.

Effectively, any measure passed by the assembly will have to attract the support of a majority of nationalists and unionists before it can be passed.

The assembly will have to establish a North-South ministerial council within a year and in this transitional period members of the assembly and the Irish Government will draw up twelve subject areas "where co-operation and implementation for mutual benefit will take place".

This must be done by October 31.

The ministerial council will seek co-operation across the border on specific areas such as agriculture, education, transport and the environment.

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See also:
26 May 98 |  Focus
Elections to the Northern Ireland assembly
18 May 98 |  Focus
Ministerial powers and responsibilities
23 May 98 |  Focus
Powers of the Northern Ireland assembly
26 May 98 |  Focus
The d'Hondt system explained
Links to other Focus stories are at the foot of the page.

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