On Monday the 11 January 2016 the Rt Hon Peter Robinson MLA resigned from his position of First Minister.
This video shows the procedure that takes place to fill vacancies within the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister.
From the Official Report:
“Mr Speaker: The First Minister’s resignation has now taken effect and, in accordance with section 16B(2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the deputy First Minister has also ceased to hold office. The next item of business is the filling of both vacancies, and I will conduct that process in accordance with the procedures required by section 16B(3) of the 1998 Act. I will begin by asking the nominating officer of the largest political party of the largest political designation to nominate a member of the Assembly to be the First Minister. I will then ask the nominating officer of the largest political party of the second largest political designation to nominate a member of the Assembly to be the deputy First Minister.
As the persons nominated to fill the vacancies shall not take up office until each of them has affirmed the terms of the Pledge of Office contained in schedule 4 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998, when I have received both nominations I will ask each of the persons nominated to affirm the terms of the Pledge of Office. Before we proceed, Members may find it helpful if the Pledge of Office is read into the record so that it does not have to be read in full by the persons nominated to the office of First Minister and deputy First Minister.
The Pledge of Office is as follows: To pledge:
“to discharge in good faith all the duties of office; commitment to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means; to serve all the people of Northern Ireland equally, and to act in accordance with the general obligations on government to promote equality and prevent discrimination; to promote the interests of the whole community represented in the Northern Ireland Assembly towards the goal of a shared future; to participate fully in the Executive Committee, the North-South Ministerial Council and the British-Irish Council; to observe the joint nature of the offices of First Minister and deputy First Minister; to uphold the rule of law based as it is on the fundamental principles of fairness, impartiality and democratic accountability, including support for policing and the courts as set out in paragraph 6 of the St Andrews Agreement; to participate with colleagues in the preparation of a programme for government; to operate within the framework of that programme when agreed within the Executive Committee and endorsed by the Assembly; to support, and act in accordance with, all decisions of the Executive Committee and Assembly; to comply with the Ministerial Code of Conduct.
Paragraph 6 of the St Andrews Agreement says:
‘We believe that the essential elements of support for law and order include endorsing fully the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the criminal justice system, actively encouraging everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the PSNI in tackling crime in all areas and actively supporting all the policing and criminal justice institutions, including the Policing Board.'”
The Pledge of Office has now been read into the record of proceedings and, for the information of Members, copies are also available in the Hall. I will now proceed with the nomination process, and I call on the Rt Hon Peter Robinson to nominate a Member of the Assembly to be the First Minister.”