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Protestants Win 14 of 15 Ulster Seats in Parliament

January 24, 1986|Associated Press

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — Protestants won sweeping victories in parliamentary elections, but an upset victory by a Roman Catholic gave a boost to supporters of the 10-week-old Anglo-Irish accord, results showed today.

With the vote count completed in Thursday's elections, Protestants won 14 of 15 seats in the British Parliament. The "Ulster Says No" ticket of Protestants up for reelection received 418,230 of the 584,988 votes cast.

Protestant leaders claimed that their majority community had overwhelmingly rejected the accord, which gives the overwhelmingly Catholic Irish Republic a formal consultative role in administering Northern Ireland.

Resigned in Protest

Those on the ticket resigned from Parliament late last year to protest the agreement and force the election, which they said was a referendum on the accord.

The victory by former school principal Seamus Mallon of the moderate Catholic Social Democratic and Labor Party took some steam out of the Protestant claims. He unseated Protestant farmer Jim Nicholson by 22,694 votes to 20,111.

The anti-agreement drive was spearheaded by the Rev. Ian Paisley, who was returned to Parliament with a majority of more than 30,000.

Peter Robinson, deputy to Paisley, easily took East Belfast with 27,607 votes against 5,917 for Oliver Napier of the non-sectarian Alliance Party.

Paisley told cheering supporters that the election had given the British government Ulster's answer to the Anglo-Irish accord.

"The answer is no to this interference from Dublin, and it is a loud and decisive no," he said.

Won't 'Turn Away'

But Nicholas Scott, a senior official in Britain's Northern Ireland Office, stressed that "don't let anyone imagine for one moment that the government is going to turn away from what it has set its hand to."

Freezing weather and apparent apathy in some constituencies led to a considerably lower turnout than in the previous British parliamentary elections in the province in 1983. The overall turnout was 61.4%, down from 72.4% in 983 election. There were 953,494 people eligible to vote.

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