Northern Ireland Assembly

The Northern Ireland Assembly (Irish: Tionól Thuaisceart Éireann, Ulster Scots: Norlin Airlan Assemblie) is the devolved legislature of Northern Ireland. It has power to legislate in a wide range of areas that are not explicitly reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and to appoint the Northern Ireland Executive. It sits at Parliament Buildings at Stormont in Belfast.

The latest incarnation of the Assembly was established under the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, an accord aimed at bringing an end to Northern Ireland's violent 30-year Troubles. It is based on the principle of power-sharing under the D'Hondt method to ensure that Northern Ireland's largest political communities, the unionist and nationalist communities both participate in governing the region. The Assembly is a unicameral, democratically elected body currently comprising 108 members known as Members of the Legislative Assembly, or MLAs. Under the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, the number of MLAs will be reduced from 108 to 96 following the next Assembly election. Members are elected under the single transferable vote form of proportional representation.

The Assembly has been suspended on several occasions, the longest suspension being from 14 October 2002 until 7 May 2007. When the Assembly was suspended, its powers reverted to the Northern Ireland Office. Following talks that resulted in the St Andrews Agreement being accepted in November 2006, an election to the Assembly was held on 7 March 2007 and full power was restored to the devolved institutions on 8 May 2007.

Powers in relation to policing and justice were transferred to the Assembly on 12 April 2010.

The third assembly was dissolved on 24 March 2011 in preparation for the elections to be held on Thursday 5 May 2011, this being the first assembly since the Good Friday Agreement to complete a full term. The fourth assembly convened on 12 May 2011.

Read more about Northern Ireland Assembly:  History, Composition, Powers and Functions, Procedure, Reform Proposals, Organisation

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... Under section 14 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, a Bill which has been approved by the Northern Ireland Assembly is presented to the Queen by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for ... Assent is given by means of Letters Patent in the following form set out in the Northern Ireland (Royal Assent to Bills) Order 1999 ... by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Our other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, To the ...

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