People and Politics by Patrick Roberts
Ulster Unionist vote collapses in Northern Ireland , hardliners routed
Posted on Friday, May 07, 2010 at 08:18 AM
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The Ulster Unionist party has been wiped out in the Northern Irish elections. It is akin to the Democrats failing to win any seats in the U.S. senate.
Not too long ago the Ulster Unionists were the unquestioned masters in Northern Ireland.
They had every prime minster in the state's history from 1921 and led every power sharing government from the 1970s up until 2007 when Ian Paisley of the rival Democratic Unionist Party went into power with Martin McGuinness,
While the defeat of Peter Robinson, now head of the Democratic Unionist Party and of the power sharing government, was a sensational result there were many obvious reason for it, the scandal involving his wife and dubious land deals being the key ones.
Robinson's role as head of the power sharing government is still intact but he may face pressure to step down.
Think of it as still being co-governor with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness of the state of Northern Ireland while he lost a federal election to the Westminster parliament
The UUP though is a party that has simply imploded.
The party leader party Sir Reg Empey was defeated handily while their only previous MP Lady Sylvia Hermon,ran and won as an independent this time because she disagreed with the party signing a deal with the Tory party in Britain before the vote.
The Tradional Unionist Voice, an even harder line unionist party also had a very bad election., Their leader was easily defeated by Ian Paisley's son Ian Junior in their big shot at an upset
Reg Empey's decision to try a harder line unionism than the DUP has failed spectacularly and he is probably doomed as party leader. The other big winner on the night was the Alliance Party. the moderate centrist group whose candidate Naomi Long, took Peter Robinson's seat.
Nationalist parties fared as expected with Gerry Adams winning the biggest majority in Northern Ireland. Adams certainly answered his critics who had said he was on the down slope after recent controversies. Sinn Fein easily returned four MPs
A recount was ordered in Fermanagh /South Tyrone where Michelle Gildernew of Sinn Fein and an agreed unionist candidate Roderick O'Connor are in a tense third recount. Gildernew emerged victorious by just four votes
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