N. Ireland Politics

Martin McGuinness: New Northern Ireland Executive ministers to be appointed next week

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Media captionMartin McGuinness said there would be "major problems" if the Alliance Party refused the justice ministry

The ministers of the new Northern Ireland Executive will be appointed next Wednesday, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said.

The SDLP and Alliance Party have yet to say whether they will join the executive.

Mr McGuinness said he was still hopeful both would be part of the new executive, but added it was now "make your mind up time" for both parties.

The Ulster Unionists have already said they will enter opposition.

The Alliance Party's ruling council is due to meet on Thursday to decide if the party will join the executive.

The majority of the posts in the executive will be filled by ministers from the DUP and Sinn Féin.

In 5 May's election, the DUP maintained the 38 seats it held in the last assembly, while Sinn Féin lost one and now holds 28.

The Ulster Unionists have 16 seats, while the SDLP have 12.

The Alliance Party secured eight seats during the election, meaning it does not have enough seats to automatically qualify for a ministerial department. However, it has been offered the justice ministry.

"We have offered the position of justice minister to the Alliance Party," Mr McGuinness said on Wednesday.

"They have come back with a number of issues which they would like to see addressed and we will respond to those during the course of today."

He added: "I think the SDLP have to consider what is good for the people, what is good for the role of the government as the Good Friday Agreement was all about inclusive administration.

"It's make your mind up time over the course of the next seven days.

"I hope the SDLP will decide to come into the administration, we are involved in discussions with them, and there will be a further engagement tomorrow and after that they will have to decide."