Ian Paisley: man of convictions

Ian Paisley, whose party took the most seats in Northern Ireland's legislative polls, is the most uncompromising and the loudest advocate for the province's hardline Protestant community.

    The DUP leader is the loudest advocate for the Protestants

    With his booming preacher's voice and broad, florid face, Paisley, 77, the long-time voice of opposition to any compromise with Irish Catholic nationalists, is one of the province's most recognizable politicians.

    As leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the political vehicle he founded in 1970 to help ensure that Northern Ireland remained firmly British, Paisley has consistently railed with equal venom at his Catholic opponents and more moderate voices of the Protestant majority.

    His strident posturing won him the votes this time, with his DUP claiming 30 of the 108 seats in the assembly, compared to 27 for the more moderate Ulster Unionist Party.

    Strong support

    When critics charge that Paisley's opposition to any negotiations with paramilitary group the Irish Republican Army makes him out of touch, he points to strong electoral backing that has made him a member of both the British and European parliaments as well as the assembly.

    An evangelical Christian, Paisley is often accused of bigotry for saying that while he has no problem with individual Catholics, he opposes their church itself.

    And while pundits ponder whether the peace process might advance more quickly were Paisley to step down, he is already talking about standing as a member of the European Parliament again in 2004.

    "I will go to the grave with the convictions I have," he once quipped.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.