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Non-violent opposition to peace processess : Northern Ireland's serial spoilers

2006-02-28, Farrington, Christopher

This article argues the crucial stage to the success or failure of a peace agreement is the implementation stage because it is at this stage that the agreement becomes subject to political forces which have not been involved in the negotiation process. It builds on Frensley's research (1998) that the post-negotiation ratification process is a determinant of the success of failure of an agreement by posting a more dynamic theory. It argues that the role of elites in shaping the preferences of their constituency needs to be factored into the analysis of the ratification process and that the position of parties in a democratic framework is important in shaping their strategies. It builds on Stedman's research on spoilers to argue that non-violent democratic spoilers pose a particular difficulty for peace aggreements and uses evidence from Northern Ireland to show how non-violent spoilers have been the main determinant of both the Belfast Agreement of 1998 and the Sunningdale experiment of 1973-4.