Following a meeting with a delegation from the DUP today, Alliance Leader David Ford stated:
“While there are many differences between our two parties, there are many issues worthy of further consideration. The DUP’s preferred option for the Assembly is very close to Alliance’s suggestion of a voluntary power-sharing coalition. Both Alliance and the DUP recognise the problems that arose with the previous involuntary coalition, and the lack of any shared responsibility between ministers.
“Alliance welcomed the DUP’s proposal to move towards a weighted majority voting system in the Assembly and their willingness to scrap the sectarian system of designations. As far as Alliance is concerned, designations must be removed as part of this review. The current voting system was the only aspect of the Agreement that failed to work when implemented exactly in line with the Agreement.
“All those who wish to say they wish to see the Agreement back in operation must see the need for reform in this area. Both parties saw value in this meeting. At the next meeting we will continue to explore the different options for voluntary.
“Alliance also held a meeting with the NIO today, and will be continuing discussions with the two governments tomorrow. We explained the detail of our proposals to the Government, as well as highlighting those areas where change is absolutely essential.”
The Alliance delegation included David Ford, Naomi Long, Eileen Bell, Seamus Close and Kieran McCarthy. Representing the DUP was Nigel Dodds, Peter Robinson and Ian Paisley.