|VOTING FOR PEACE
Will the political peace in Northern Ireland hold?
June 4, 1998
in this forum:
Can the new agreement deal with violence in the streets? How is the Assembly election shaping up? How key is voter participation to the viability of the peace agreement? Will this Assembly be able to make the day-to-day decisions? How will outside influences (UK, Ireland, U.S.) affect the Assembly? Shelly Connor of Cork, Ireland asks: According to the exit polls I saw following the referendum, many people who generally never vote, came out to vote on the agreement. How key will participation levels be to the make-up of the Assembly? It seems as if the elections run like they have in the past the Assembly may be dead on arrival.
Joe Carroll, of the Irish Times, responds:
Observers say that the voters you refer to who do not normally vote will be a key factor in the Assembly election. They are especially important for the Ulster Unionist Party which is fighting for seats against two other unionist parties which are opposed to the Agreement. The fear is that these voters who came out for the referendum may not bother in the election and so weaken the UUP position in the Assembly. If the anti-Agreement unionists win more than 60 per cent of the unionist seats, they can block the working of the Assembly but it is felt that they will not win that many seats.