Given the transitional provisions of the agreement, it is also important to note that the elections to the Assembly took place in July 1998, well before the adoption of the Northern Ireland Act. With regard to the promotion of equal employment, the Northern Ireland Act (1998) also provided for the creation of the Equal Opportunity Commission, which began its work on 1 September 1999.1″The Good Friday Agreement: Equality Commission for Northern Ireland”, BBC News, May 2006, was consulted on 21 January 2013, www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/schools/agreement/equality/equality… The result of these referendums was a large majority in both parts of Ireland in favour of the agreement. In the Republic, 56% of the electorate voted, 94% of the vote voted in favour of the revision of the Constitution. The turnout was 81% in Northern Ireland, with 71% of the vote for the agreement. 16. After the election of the Prime Minister and deputy prime minister, ministerial posts are allocated to parties on the basis of the Hondt system based on the number of seats each party has in the Assembly. As the conflict deepened, the death toll quickly increased. Events such as the bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972 – in which British troops killed 13 unarmed civilians and wounded several others (one of whom later died of his wounds) while taking part in a protest march – served as a catalyst for the increasingly bitter conflict.
The multi-party agreement required the parties to “use all the influences they might have” to obtain the dismantling of all paramilitary weapons within two years of the adoption of the agreement by referendums. The standardization process has forced the British government to reduce the number and role of its armed forces in Northern Ireland “to a level compatible with a normal peaceful society.” These include the elimination of security measures and the abolition of special emergency powers in Northern Ireland. The Irish government has pledged to conduct a “thorough review” of its violations of national law. In a major compromise, the parties agreed on measures to promote the Irish language, which trade unionists have long opposed to the fear that it will increase nationalist and republican culture to the detriment of their own. In return, the agreement contained provisions to promote Ulster-Scots, traditionally spoken by descendants of Protestants from Scotland to Northern Ireland. Negotiations were also reinforced by commitments in Dublin and London for increased funding for hospitals, schools and other social services in Northern Ireland. For example, the decentralisation clause of the agreement was implemented in 1998. The agreement required the transfer of authority over certain policy areas of the British Parliament to a newly created assembly in Belfast and paved the way for paramilitary groups to give up their weapons and engage in the political process. It has contributed to a sharp decrease in violence and the annual death toll, which peaked at 480 in 1972, has fallen to one figure in recent years. 23. As a condition of appointment, ministers, including the Prime Minister and deputy prime minister, will reaffirm the conditions for a commitment by the Office (Annex A) to carry out effectively and in good faith all the functions to be entrusted to their duties.
The Northern Ireland Assembly is a delegated legislature for Northern Ireland, with compulsory inter-communal voting on some important decisions.