In the 1918 general election to the parliament of the United Kingdom, the Sinn Fein political party (whose goal was to establish a republic) won a majority of the Irish seats. The Sinn Fein members then refused to sit in the UK Parliament, and in January 1919 met in Dublin to convene an Irish Parliament (known as the Dail Eireann) and declare Ireland’s independence. The Irish Republican Army then launched a guerilla war against the British government and its forces in Ireland. Following a July 1921 cease-fire, the two sides signed a treaty in December that called for the establishment of the Irish Free State, a self-governing nation of the British Commonwealth, the following year. Ireland’s six northern counties opted out of the Free State and remained with the United Kingdom. The fully independent Republic of Ireland (consisting of the 26 counties in the southern and western part of the island) was formally proclaimed on Easter Monday, April 18, 1949.