David Ford said: “Stopping the First and Deputy First Ministers from being elected jointly will create unstable foundations for devolution and will prevent inclusivity.
“This legislation is the outworking of all the grubby side deals done by the government with the DUP and Sinn Fein.
“The government has promised elections in March as a sop to the DUP and Sinn Fein. I believe that the government is playing a very dangerous game in calling an election before power-sharing is secured. Before people are asked to go back to the polls they have a right to see a fully-functioning executive with Sinn Fein and DUP Ministers working together.
“It would be an absolute disaster if an election gave them opportunity to go back on commitments.
“The changes made to the Good Friday Agreement have weakened genuine power-sharing. We face the threat of DUP and Sinn Fein action dissolving the Assembly at will.
“If devolution is restored on this basis, it will be a very fragile structure.”