The agreement was for Northern Ireland to be part of the United Kingdom and remain in place until a majority of the population of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland wished otherwise. If this happens, the British and Irish governments will be “obliged” to implement this decision. But then, he says, the extremist parties, which had initially refused or delayed participation in the agreement, began to be dissatisfied with the alleged concessions of the moderates to the other side, on controversial subjects such as the Irish language and the transmission of traditional parades. Durkan and Nesbitt both claim that their opponents then used this negative energy to win votes – and power and patronage – for themselves. An electoral system of proportional representation aimed at eroding former denominational divisions in Northern Ireland failed in this task and voters drew to opposite ends of the spectrum, such as Sinn Féin and the DUP, to ensure that their community had greater collective power. The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums on 22 May 1998. In Northern Ireland, in the 1998 referendum on the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, voters were asked if they supported the multi-party agreement. In the Republic of Ireland, voters were asked whether they would allow the state to sign the agreement and authorize the necessary constitutional changes (nineteen constitutional amendments from Ireland) to facilitate it. The citizens of both countries had to approve the agreement to implement it. The two main political parties in the agreement were the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), led by David Trimble, and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), led by John Hume. The two heads of state and government together won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. The other parties to the agreement were Sinn Féin, the Alliance Party and the Progressive Unionist Party. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which later became the largest Unionist party, did not support the agreement.
When Sinn Féin and loyalist parties entered, they left the talks because republican and loyalist paramilitary weapons had not been decommissioned. The agreement consists of two related documents, both agreed on Good Friday, 10 April 1998 in Belfast: the multi-party agreement is an agreement between the British government, the Irish government and most political parties in Northern Ireland. It defines the support of the signatory parties under the Anglo-Irish agreement and provides the framework for various political institutions. It is divided into three parts: shortly after his election in 1993, Clinton appointed Democratic Senator George Mitchell as U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland. It would give its name to the “Mitchell Principles” that led the negotiations and played a key role in securing an agreement. Liam Kennedy explains. In 2004, negotiations were held between the two governments, the DUP, and Sinn Féin, for an agreement to restore the institutions.