Devolution was restored to Stormont in May 2007. Under the system of government designed under the Good Friday and St Andrews agreements, there are limits on how the parties can approach issues. There is no government to be thrown out or opposition to be installed.
Other issues include the Review of Public Administration, set up by the Northern Ireland Executive in 2002 to help modernise and reform the public sector; ministers did not reach agreement on reducing from 26 to 11 the number of councils by May 2011.
Ministers have so far resisted Westminster government calls for the introduction of water charging.
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