The British government should call an election to Northern Ireland's devolved assembly as soon as possible, republican party Sinn Fein said following talks on Wednesday aimed at resolving a power-sharing crisis prompted by the resignation of a senior Sinn Fein politician.
"The people must be allowed to have their say," Michelle O'Neill, a Sinn Fein member of Northern Ireland Assembly, said after meeting Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire.
"We made it clear that we would not be renominating for the post of deputy first minister and told him [Brokenshire] he should call an election at the earliest possible opportunity," O'Neill said.
Answering a question in parliament later Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May said it was "so important for the government and all parties to work hard" to resolve the crisis.
Veteran Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy first minister on Monday after First Minister Arlene Foster, who represents the Democratic Unionist Party, ignored repeated calls for her to step down pending an investigation of a botched energy scheme which could cost taxpayers nearly 500 million pounds (600 million dollars).
Foster accused Sinn Fein of using the energy scheme, which she set up while she was the region's enterprise minister, as an excuse to undermine her and manufacture a political crisis.
Under the rules of the Northern Ireland Assembly, first elected in 1998, Foster is unable to carry out most functions as first minister without a deputy to work with her.