The future of the radical centre in Northern Ireland after the Good Friday Agreement

Evans, JAJ and Tonge, J 2003, 'The future of the radical centre in Northern Ireland after the Good Friday Agreement' , Political Studies, 51 (1) , pp. 26-50.

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The 1998 Good Friday Agreement has provided a new political dispensation in Northern Ireland. Through the management of the competing aims of unionism and nationalism, the Agreement hopes to promote cross-community consensus and forge a new, moderate centre. However, the segmental autonomy evident under the consociationalism of the Agreement poses questions of the existing political centre in Northern Ireland. Traditionally, the centre, as represented by the Alliance Party, has rejected unionism and nationalism, believing either to be ideologies to be overcome, rather than accommodated. Under the post-Agreement political arrangements, Alliance has already been obliged to bolster pro-Agreement unionism, through the temporary tactical redesignation of three of its Assembly members as Unionist and through tacit support for selected unionist election candidates. Using the first ever membership survey of the existing centre party in Northern Ireland, this article examines whether its vision of a radical third tradition is sustainable in a polity in which unionist and nationalist politics are legitimised.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for Democracy and Human Rights
Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Political Studies
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1467-9248
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Depositing User: JAJ Evans
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2012 13:14
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 14:45

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