Unionist Opposition To The Anglo Irish Agreement
Irish republicans have been able to reject the only constitutional advance (in the eyes of many nationalists and republicans) since the fall of Stormont a decade earlier. As such, the agreement reinforced the political approach advocated by the SDLP and contributed to the republican recognition of the principle of approval as the basis for a fundamental change in northern Ireland`s national status by republicans, which was explicitly declared draft in the 1998 agreement. However, in ten years, PIRA announced a (first) ceasefire and the two governments negotiated with both sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland, which culminated in the Good Friday agreement.  By-elections called after the resignation of the Unionists did not offer voters a clear choice because of the reluctance of other parties to challenge them. No Unionist candidate rejected another, while the SDLP and Sinn Féin ran for only the four seats, where the majority of votes for nationalist candidates had been voted on in previous elections. The SDLP has rejected an offer by Sinn Féin to enter into a nationalist electoral pact against the Unionist electoral pact.  The SDLP was given the seat of Newry and Armagh. The alliance has formally committed to fighting all seats on a platform to support the agreement, but some local branches have refused to choose candidates. The Workers` Party sat on a few seats. In four constituencies where no party would oppose the Unionist MP, a certain Wesley Robert Williamson changed his name by a poll in «Peter Barry» (the name of the Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs) and appeared on the label «For the Anglo-Irish Agreement», but did not campaign. Despite this, he received nearly 7,000 votes and saved three deposits.
The Unionist parties between them won more than 400,000 votes and more than 71% of the overall survey, but as there were no by-elections in the stubborn nationalist seats of West Belfast and Foyle, this figure is distorted. [Citation required] The assembly established by Prior will be renewed or abandoned in the fall of 1986. In the few months leading up to the elections, trade unionists would have to turn around at a remarkable speed, moving from their uncompromising rhetoric to the language of cooperation, if they wanted to convince the SDLP to renounce their position of abstention and do everything in their power to make the Assembly work.