The Good Friday Agreement provided for an elected assembly of 108 members in Northern Ireland. The Assembly would be able to exercise executive and legislative power and is subject to safeguards to protect the rights and interests of all parts of the Community. According to the agreement, the assembly should be elected according to the proportional representative transferable vote system. In order to safeguard the interests and rights of all parties, the agreement also provided for a proportional distribution of committee members in the Assembly. We are a long way from 10 April 1998, when the Good Friday Agreement was signed. „We were on a roller coaster,“ Durkan recalls. At that time, he says, peace saw „so far, then so close and so far again.“ When the deal was reached, „we knew we still had a mountain to climb, but we had accomplished something against adversity that day.“ The idea of the agreement was to get the two sides to work together in a group called the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Assembly would take certain decisions previously taken by the British Government in London. Under the agreement, it was proposed to build on the existing British-Irish interparliamentary body. Prior to the agreement, the body consisted solely of parliamentarians from the British and Irish parliaments. In 2001, as proposed in the agreement, it was extended to parliamentarians from all members of the British-Irish Council.
The overall result of these problems was to damage unionists` confidence in the deal, which was exploited by the anti-deal DUP, which eventually overtook the pro-deal Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) in the 2003 general election. The UUP had already resigned from the executive power-sharing branch in 2002 following the Stormontgate scandal, in which three men were accused of intelligence gathering. These charges were eventually dropped in 2005 on the controversial grounds that the persecution was not „in the public interest“. Immediately afterwards, one of the accused Sinn Féin members, Denis Donaldson, was denounced as a British agent. (i) To recognise the legitimacy of any election freely exercised by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland in terms of status, whether they prefer to continue to support the Union with Great Britain or a sovereign and united Ireland; Under that agreement, the British and Irish Governments concluded the organisation of referendums in Northern Ireland and the Republic on 22 May 1998 respectively. .