21/04/2008

Robinson Seeks Voter 'Deal' With UUP

Fresh from his party's endorsement of being voted the new leader, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader elect has moved quickly to seek new alliances.

Peter Robinson said both the main unionist parties needed to reverse a trend of low voter turnout in their areas.

The East Belfast MLA and MP said he wants to talk to the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) about greater co-operation between both parties.

At the weekend, he said: "We need to be mindful of the electoral strength of republicanism. They are getting stronger because unionist turnout is reducing.

"There is a responsibility on unionists to encourage people to come to the polling station."

Once the DUP founder and only leader so far, Dr Ian Paisley formally resigns as head of the largest political party in the Province, Mr Robinson will step up as the NI Executive’s First Minister – effectively as Northern Ireland's 'Prime Minister' by June.

Mr Robinson has been his deputy for 28 years, with the exception of one short break when an earlier initiative for inter-unionist parties policy co-operation was opposed by other party members.

(BMcC)

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