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Election eve

Latest update : 2007-12-28

FRANCE 24's Eve Irvine reports from Belfast on the night before of Northern Ireland's elections for a power-sharing assembly.

Monday March 5 - 10:40 pm
We've spent our second day in Belfast and still have the same impression as on our initial arrival: that the elections here are a seriously quiet affair. Do we, the outside world, see these elections as more of a crucial step in the region's future than people in the province itself? Posters are rare, and while the media is covering the event it's not the only thing people are talking about....
 
People tell us that they will turn out to vote, and the feeling on the ground is that most people are willing to accept concessions in order to get their own government after years of direct rule from London.
 
As one man put it: "People's ideals haven't really changed, but they're willing to accept lots in order to get peace."
News on the radio this evening spoke of a visit by Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, who visited the strictly loyalist (as in loyal to Britain) Orange Order. At the event, Hain once again reiterated his mantra that by March 26 - deadline for the republican Sinn Fein and their unionist rivals to agree on a power-sharing government - it's "devolution or dissolution" for Northern Ireland.
 
But the leader of the main unionist party, Ian Paisley, still has not committed to the date. For many this is his tactic to leave him with better bargaining powers to get more money from London.

Date created : 2007-03-06