This article reviews the possibility of multi-level voting in Northern Ireland in the wake of the 1998 peace accord. Post-peace accord elections can act as powerful indicators of the fate of a peace. Using Reif and Schmitt’s framework of second-order elections, it finds some evidence of varying electoral behaviour according to the electoral arena. The article also uses original data from a major opinion survey to assess public attitudes towards the suite of governing institutions with powers in or over a devolved Northern Ireland. The evidence of multi-level voting is limited and does not extend to electors abandoning ethnic voting patterns in the new political dispensation. In fact, it is argued that the very nature of the peace process has encouraged a re-entrenchment of exclusive nationalism and unionism.

Author Bio(s)

Roger Mac Ginty is a lecturer at the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit in the Department of Politics, University of York. His main research interests lie in the management of violence and peace processes. His latest book (edited with John Darby) is Contemporary Peacemaking: Conflict, violence and peace processes (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). He has also published articles in American Behavioral Scientist, Civil Wars, Government and Opposition, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Regional and Federal Studies and Third World Quarterly.


elections, multi-level voting, Northern Ireland post-peace accord, Protestant-unionist-loyalist bloc, pro-united Ireland Catholic-nationalist-republican bloc

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