Alliance has been the most consistent supporter of creating democratic politics in Northern Ireland and was enthusiastic advocates of the Good Friday Agreement and then the St Andrew's Agreement Since then, Alliance has consistently supported an open, transparent and democratic politics open up in Northern Ireland. We believe that the future of Northern Ireland is best decided in Northern Ireland. However, like any system of government, there is always room for reform. In particular, Stormont needs to be made more like other legislatures and the practice of compulsory coalition must end. Alliance has a clear plan to reform our institutions of government, which includes:
- A coalition which is decided through voluntary negotiation between parties and subject to a vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
- An opposition, free from voluntary government, with the opportunity to properly hold the government to account.
- Greater co-operation between Ministers by reducing the number of departments and requiring them to work together under law.
- Fewer MLAs and an end to sectarian designations.
- Replacing the Petition of Concern system, which has been abused, with a qualified majority system.
- Letting the public know who donates money to political parties.
Agenda for Democracy, our proposals for reforming governance in Northern Ireland, can be read here. We also supported the reduction in the number of councils from 26 to 11, along with strengthening their powers. We secured changes to the legislation to make sure that council meetings were recorded, seats were more fairly allocated amongst all the groups represented on the council and improving the community planning process. We want to make sure the new councils deliver with:
- Our plan for every council to develop a specific programme to regenerate town centres.
- Pushing local councils to the highest possible recycling rates with a combination of community action and regional support.
- Making sure there is a comprehensive approach to improving good relations.