In his New Year Message, David Ford stated: “We end 2006 in a flurry of activity aimed at ensuring that Sinn Féin finally lives up to its commitments to supporting the police and accepting its own role in the structures of justice and policing.
“There is a more fundamental question. Can we establish genuine partnership and power-sharing, not just a carve-up between Unionists and Nationalists who don’t even communicate at present?
“The history of the first Assembly was of problems and difficulties while other Unionists and Nationalists led the Executive. Does anyone seriously believe that Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness will be any more successful?
“We will seek a mandate to continue to keep the pressure on the four sectarian parties to make sure that they do not hinder us in achieving the goal of responsive and responsible government. We alone will emphasise the need to build new structures to share power and set up a government for all our citizens, regardless of class, colour or creed.
“We look forward to the New Year with confidence, buoyed up by our victory in the only election held since the St Andrews conference and by a growing sense that the Alliance Party is now seen as the alternative to constant stagnation and frustration.”