Europe

Belfast power-sharing faces Monday deadline for destruction

  • Former deputy Northern Ireland First Minister Martin McGuinness arrives at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. The Northern Ireland Assembly faces likely dissolution for an election that could make revival of a Catholic-Protestant government more difficult following the recent resignation by Martin McGuinness. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    Former deputy Northern Ireland First Minister Martin McGuinness arrives at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. The Northern Ireland Assembly faces likely dissolution for an election that could make revival of a Catholic-Protestant government more difficult following the recent resignation by Martin McGuinness. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former deputy Northern Ireland First Minister Martin McGuinness arrives at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. The Northern Ireland Assembly faces likely dissolution for an election that could make revival of a Catholic-Protestant government more difficult following the recent resignation by Martin McGuinness. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    Former deputy Northern Ireland First Minister Martin McGuinness arrives at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. The Northern Ireland Assembly faces likely dissolution for an election that could make revival of a Catholic-Protestant government more difficult following the recent resignation by Martin McGuinness. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

  • Former deputy Northern Ireland First Minister Martin McGuinness arrives at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. The Northern Ireland Assembly faces likely dissolution for an election that could make revival of a Catholic-Protestant government more difficult following the recent resignation by Martin McGuinness. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    Former deputy Northern Ireland First Minister Martin McGuinness arrives at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. The Northern Ireland Assembly faces likely dissolution for an election that could make revival of a Catholic-Protestant government more difficult following the recent resignation by Martin McGuinness. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

The Northern Ireland Assembly faces likely dissolution for an election that could make revival of a Catholic-Protestant government more difficult.

The British government has a Monday deadline to announce election plans because the main Irish nationalist party, Sinn Fein, refuses to fill its top post in the coalition.

Power-sharing between British Protestants and Irish Catholics is the cornerstone of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord. But a nearly decade-old coalition led jointly by Sinn Fein and the major Protestant-backed party, the Democratic Unionists, faces collapse after Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy first minister in the U.K. region.

Lawmakers are scheduled to vote Monday to fill that essential power-sharing post. Sinn Fein insists it will not nominate a successor in protest against Democratic Unionist behavior and requires an election first.