Arlene Foster is to step down as both leader of the DUP and as First Minister.
The Fermanagh woman said she would step down as party leader on May 28, and as FM at the end of June.
In a statement given to Sky News she said: “It is important to give space over the next few weeks for the Party Officers to make arrangements for the election of a new leader.”
She said serving the people of the North had been “the privilege of my life”.
“The future of unionism and Northern Ireland will not be found in division. It will only be found in sharing this place we are privileged to call home,” she added.
The announcement comes after it emerged yesterday ore than 20 DUP MLAs had their names to a letter of no confidence in Foster, who was leader of the party for five years.
First Minister Foster was elected as the first female leader of the DUP in 2015 when she was the only candidate. She has represented the Fermanagh and South Tyrone constituency since 2003.
Earlier yesterday, Arlene Foster played down suggestions her leadership was tenuous. “Stories on leadership come up from time to time, and it’s one of those times,” she told the Press Association.
By yesterday evening, the DUP said they were dealing with internal “electoral processes”.
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