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Democratic Unionist Party

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). Formed in 1971 to challenge the declining position of the Ulster Unionist Party and represent traditional loyalist working-class opinion. Its platform is a mixture of uncompromising, traditional unionism and social and economic populism. Massively dominated by its leader Ian Paisley, its support extends far beyond the free presbyterian church. The party has always been suspicious of peace initiatives. It rejected the Anglo-Irish agreement of 1985, and though it took part in the Northern Ireland Assembly from 1998 it refused to work with Sinn Fein ministers. The refusal of the IRA to begin decommissioning its arms polarized opinion in Ulster and at the general election of 2001 the DUP scored a triumph, taking nine seats and reducing the rival Ulster Unionists to one seat. In 2007 Ian Paisley became First Minister of a power-sharing executive having agreed to work with Sinn Fein.

Ms Sue Minna Cannon

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