Later today the votes will be counted and the election results declared: but that doesn’t mean that we’ll have a working Assembly.
In the past four years we have seen the Executive collapsed twice, once by Sinn Fein for a period of three years and a few months ago by the DUP.
The structures established by the Good Friday Agreement have long since reached their sell by date. They are no longer fit for purpose and now stand in the way of effective develoved government.
The Assembly structures urgently need root and branch reform.
The starting point has to be getting rid of the sectarian and inoperable structures that the two main parties in particular continue to use, abuse and hide behind.
At a minimum, we need to move from mandatory to voluntary coalition, community designation requirements should be abolished and the Petition of Concern reformed to ensure that it can never again be used to veto social or equality legislation.
We cannot endure another five years of stop / start government. Immediate and far reaching reform is the only way in which a new Assembly can function effectively.