Arlene Foster said Wednesday that he would resign as the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the first Minister of Northern Ireland.
She said she would resign from the Democratic Unionist role on May 28 and resign as prime minister at the end of June.
Foster, who served as the first minister for five years, was increasingly dissatisfied among the parties over the treatment of Brexit and the decision to abstain from voting for homosexual conversion therapy.
“It was a privilege of my life to serve the people of Northern Ireland as the first minister and to represent members of my hometown of Fermanagh / South Tyrone,” she said in a statement.
“I’ve been aiming to keep the party and Northern Ireland away from the division and lead them on a better path,” she said.
“The future of unionism and Northern Ireland will not be seen in division, but will only be found by sharing this place, which we all have the privilege of calling home.”
Brandon Lewis, the British government’s secretary for Northern Ireland, said Foster was a “true devoted civil servant.”
“Many young people, especially young women, will be inspired by her example to follow the path to politics,” he wrote on Twitter.
Foster’s position has been suspicious since it was revealed that a significant number of colleagues had signed a motion of no confidence circulated among party tycoons.
Over the last few months, there has been growing concern among DUP members about the leadership of Foster and the wider party.
The main concern is the handling of the Brexit process. Brexit’s withdrawal agreement includes the Northern Ireland Protocol, which guarantees that there are no land boundaries between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This is seen by the EU as the key to protecting the Northern Ireland peace process set out in the Good Friday Agreement.
However, it has effectively built a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain, and has been strongly opposed by Unionist politicians.
Critics have accused Foster of not using the party’s influence in Westminster to allow Northern Ireland to leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of Britain.
Apart from Brexit, the more conservative department of DUP recognizes Foster as being too moderate on some social issues.
Last week, Foster angered supporters for being one of five DUP members who abstained in a motion to ban homosexual conversion therapy in the Northern Ireland Assembly, with a majority of party colleagues voting against it. ..
PA contributed to this report.