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Unionist party competition and the Orange Order vote in Northern Ireland

By JA Evans and J Tonge


The period since the signing of Northern Ireland's ‘peace deal’, the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA), has seen a shift in the votes of many Protestants to the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), hitherto seen as a hardline, anti-GFA organisation fusing religion and politics. This article uses a case study of the Orange Order, the largest religious-cultural organisation in Northern Ireland containing almost one-in-four Protestant voters, to examine the basis of the appeal of more militant Protestant Unionism in the DUP. The article suggests that a radical ethnic militancy is apparent amongst younger ‘Orange’ Protestants in particular. This shift in Protestant-Unionist opinion has been exacerbated in a post-conflict party system, in which electoral competition is based upon intra-ethnic bloc rivalry around the defence of the interests of a particular bloc

Topics: JN101, JA, BL, other
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2007
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