Sunday, November 30, 2003

Yahoo! News - Election Sets Back Accord in N. Ireland
Among Protestant voters, the Democratic Unionist Party, led by Rev. Ian Paisley defeated the more moderate Ulster Unionists under David Trimble, one of the prime movers in the peace process and lead minister in the now-dismantled local government. Even in Trimble's party, several opponents of the agreement won election, giving Protestants who reject the power-sharing deal a solid majority.

On the Catholic side, Sinn Fein, the political affiliate of the paramilitary Irish Republican Army, vaulted over the Social Democratic and Labor Party, which until Friday had been the largest Catholic-oriented party. Both parties support the 1998 accord, known as the Good Friday agreement, which for the first time in the province's troubled history guaranteed the Catholic minority a share of decision-making in local affairs.

Paisley, 77, and his party are committed to scrapping the agreement, which they contend has given too much power to Sinn Fein and the IRA. While Democratic Unionists served as cabinet ministers in the last local government, they insist they will not do so again until the IRA has disarmed and been disbanded.

Oops! I spoke too soon. I hope they don't return to violence as a way of solving their problems.