It was a foregone conclusion, as the voters of Northern Ireland went to the polls last week for the first time in four years, that the Protestant, pro-British Unionist Party would win—just as it has in every general election since the North Irish government was established in 1920. But that did not prevent the Irish from going into a round of heady politicking. Although 21 of the seats were uncontested, the Unionists had to contest their claim to the other 31 seats against no less than nine opposition parties. In some constituencies, just to add spice to the occasion, Unionists...

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