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Edwin Poots has been elected leader of Democratic Unionist Party

Edwin Poots has defeated Jeffrey Donaldson to become the new leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland.

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots received 19 votes, while long-serving MP Jeffrey Donaldson received 17 votes. Paula Bradley MLA has been named the DUP’s new deputy leader.

Following his victory, Mr. Poots said that he was “honored” to have been given the opportunity and thanked his opponent. He also said that the leadership contest strengthened the party and that Mr. Donaldson will “continue to play a leading role” in the party.

“I’m looking forward to a positive relationship right across Northern Ireland with my party colleagues and indeed with people from other parties,” he said.

“I think the opportunities for Northern Ireland are great, the opportunities for us to make Northern Ireland a great place after this 100 years has passed and we move into a new 100 years.” Mr. Poots also praised the “resilience” of his people through the first 100 years of its existence.

Mr. Poots, who has said that he will be a leader in unionism, has recognised the Northern Ireland Protocol as a significant challenge. He reiterated that his agenda as party leader is to “reform, inspire and reinvigorate” unionism, adding that the DUP will remain the authentic voice of unionism.

The first leadership contest in the party’s 50-year history follows the announcement by DUP leader and Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster of her intention to step down.

Edwin Poots was elected by the party’s 36-member electoral college, which comprises 28 Northern Ireland Assembly members and eight MPs.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald offered their congratulation to the new leaders.

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