Factors contributing to UUP's decline in support

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  • What factors contributed to the UUP's decline in support?
    • Divisions within the Party over whether to participate in the GFA
      • Jeffrey Donaldson, Arlene Foster and Jonathan Bell were all critical of Trimble's decision as they believed it had several flaws
        • "SF/IRA" who had tried to destroy NI were now in Govt.
        • Decommiss-ion did not take place until 2000 but was supposed to have been completed that year
          • Trimble was also criticised for accepting IRA prisoners release
        • The IRA were still active despite their ceasefire
          • Punishment beatings and shooting of drug dealers
          • Training FARC in Columbia
          • Castlereagh break in
        • GFA failed to get nationalist community to support PSNI and courts
        • Weakened Union and made NI less politically stable
    • These divisions worked to DUP's advantage
      • Donaldson, Foster and Bell were welcomed with 'open arms' by I.P. when they defected to the DUP
        • They brought many disillusioned UUP voters who were alarmed by Trimble's decisions
          • Believed I.P. was right when saying Trimble was 'sleep-walking into a United Ireland' by complying with GFA
      • Electoral evidence was stark
        • In 1998 UUP was the largest political party and had been dominating political landscape since 1920s
        • In 2003 they were playing 'second fiddle' to rival unionists DUP who won 20 Assembly seats and 1 MP in HOC
        • In 2007 the DUP won 36 seats in Assembly and 9 in HOC


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