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Assess the reasons why the Alliance Party has always struggled in Northern Ireland politics.

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Transfer-Encoding: chunked Assess the reasons why the Alliance Party has always struggled in Northern Ireland politics. [26] The Alliance Party, led by David Ford, is traditionally the centre party. They are very mildly unionist in that they believe the positions of Northern Ireland should remain unchanged unless the majority decide otherwise. They dislike labels of unionist and nationalist intensely and believe it only contributes to embedding sectarianism within NI institutions. Through all the momentous changes that have taken place in Northern Ireland politics and the major shifts that have occurred in party support, one thing has remained constant: the Alliance Party has continually struggled to survive, never mind make progress. There are many reasons why this has been so. The Alliance Party have always struggled in Northern Ireland politics, and this is partly due to the composition and workings of the assembly. Their power is often diminished in larger votes which require the majority of unionist and nationalist support. It has been very difficult to break the centrality of the border as the central issue in Northern Ireland politics. The continuation of political violence and the memories of that violence have had a polarising effect upon politics that have created unsuitable conditions for the Alliance Party. ...read more.


In 2016 they refused the post of Justice Minister and they have voiced their concern in the lack of any progress in the SHARED FUTURE agenda. This aimed at bringing down barriers across NI and encouraging much more integrated learning and culture through schools, but Alliance argued the strategy was half hearted and going nowhere and pulled out of the group. If Alliance keep pulling out of things, they will need to work hard to prove to their voters that they still have an important role in the assembly. Finally, Alliance has always struggled due to electoral apathy. In 2016 the turnout was only 54%. Many of those who do not vote either have a moderate political opinion or no opinion at all ? it is these people that Alliance need to convince to get out and vote for them. On the other hand, it could be argued that the Alliance party has been quite successful. The Party has survived which, in itself, is an achievement when so many other moderate parties have disappeared, such as the Women?s Coalition. The Alliance party was crucial during the negotiation of the GFA. It achieved 6.5% of the vote in 1998 allowing it 6 seats. ...read more.


As for education, Alliance has had a significant effect on the implementation of integrated education. The strive for 20% of children to go to integrated schools and 40% to go to shared schools by 2020. Finally, Alliance has proved itself to be highly successful in their representative role through their use of surgeries. A good example of a surgery was in 2009 when South Belfast Alliance Anna Lo MLA held a special constituency surgery on to highlight the important role of older people in our community. It was held in her constituency office and along with representatives from Age Concern, Help the Aged, Engage with Age, the Age Sector Platform and Access 2 Benefits. This surgery was designed to enable older people to voice their views and seek assistance on a wide range of issues. Many older people do not claim all the benefits that they are entitled to, and we hope that by raising awareness we will help alleviate this problem. To conclude, the future of the Alliance party is uncertain. They remain a positive force but they do not provide a legitimate challenge to the domination of DUP and Sinn Fein. Realistically, in a country as segregated as Northern Ireland a centre party is never going to do that well. ...read more.

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