2024 Update: Return of the Assembly

On Saturday Feb 3rd at 1400 hours, the Assembly was restored with Michelle O'Neill and Emma Little-Pengelly as First and Deputy First Ministers. The count is now at 0 days without a government. The counter was at 729 when it was reset.

2022 Update: Here we go again.

On Thursday Feb 3rd at 1630 hours, First Minister Paul Givan tendered his resignation. As per the last time, we count this as the start of an interregnum in local government. Prior to this the count was at 754 days with a government.

How we counted this

It turns out time-since-government is surprisingly subjective and, in particular, our approach does not match Guinness World Record's methodology. That is time for government formation, based on days since the most recent election. Belgium holds the record at 541 days.

However, NI was without a government for around two months prior to the last election, which had no impact on the stalemate, so we have calculated based on time since official government collapse. It is likely that the same Belgian crisis is also the longest time without an elected government in a developed country during peacetime, but there is no official Guinness World Record. To make this clearer, we have tweaked our wording.

The two dates we have used are the dates of the prior elections being called:

Belgium did not have an official government again until 6th December 2011, 589 days later.

Either way, Guinness World Records have confirmed that Northern Ireland is not eligible to receive the record. Nonetheless, NI will still pass Belgium's record very shortly, so our ticker will keep counting.

Thanks to, amongst others, Guinness World Records & BBC News for clarifying the official position.


This site is purely informational, without commentary, and is not associated with any specific events or political perspectives.

However, we realise that people visiting here may be looking for this detail, as the lack of government has direct, practical impact on individuals and communities in NI. A number of activities are running around Northern Ireland; some, such as those organised under #WeDeserveBetter actively protesting the current lack of government, and some simply marking the day, as in Belgium years ago.