Abstentionism is standing for
electionto a deliberative assemblywhile refusing to take up any seats won or otherwise participate in the assembly's business. Abstentionism differs from an election boycottin that abstentionists participate in the election itself. Abstentionism has been used by Irish nationalist political movements in the United Kingdomand Irelandsince the early 19th century.
Act of Union 1800, Ireland was represented at Westminster in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Repeal of the Act of Union was a goal of many Irish nationalists.Fact|date=February 2008
In 1845, a motion was carried at the
Repeal Association's committee for all Irish MPs to withdraw from Westminster. It was proposed by Thomas Osborne Davis of the Young Irelandmovement. However, the committee felt MPs already sitting could not withdraw without breaking the oath of officethey had taken upon election.  The Irish Confederation, which withrew from the Repeal Association in 1847, resolved in favour of immediate abstention. However, William Smith O'Brien, its founder, continued to speak at Westminster. [Davis, p.122] In 1848 Charles Gavan Duffyproposed that Irish MPs expelled from Westminster should sit in a separate Irish parliament. [Davis, p.256]
Other early abstentionist advocates included
George Sigersonin 1862, and John Dillonin 1878, who envisaged abstentionist Irish MPs meeting in a separate Irish parliament.]
From the 1860s,
Irish Republican Brotherhoodleaders Charles Kickhamand John O'Leary favoured abstentionism.  In 1869, G.H. Moore suggested nominating imprisoned republicans for election, knowing they were precluded as convicted felons from taking seats. [McGee, pg. 43] On this basis, Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa(in 1870) and John Mitchel(twice in 1875) were returned at by-elections in Tipperary; O'Donovan Rossa was in prison at his election, while Mitchel was in exile.
Kickham envisaged a "great national conference" calling on Irish MPs to withdraw from Westminster. A motion proposed by Charles Doran to that effect was passed at the convention of the
Home Rule League(HRL). [McGee, pg.48]
"Honest" John Martin, "independent nationalist" MP for Meath 1871-75, spoke in Westminster only to raise nationalist protests, and refused to vote. [McGee, pg. 42-43] In the 1874 election, 59 HRL MPs were returned, including
John O'Connor Powerin Mayo, who was a member of the IRB Supreme Council. He was to fall out with the IRB over allegations of misappropriating election funds, [McGee, p.49-50] and became progressively less radical. By 1876, it was clear that the HRL would never be able to organise a national convention, and MPs elected with its endorsement would remain at Westminster. [McGee, p.53] An alternative to abstentionism was obstructionismby making filibusters. This was practised by the HRL and its successor, the Irish Parliamentary Partyunder Charles Stuart Parnellfrom the late 1870s.
Arthur Griffith's " Sinn FéinPolicy", formulated 1905–07, called for Irish MPs to abstain from Westminster and sit in a parallel parliament in Dublin. The first Sinn Féin abstentionist candidate was Charles Nolanin 1908. Having sat as MP for North Leitrim for the Irish Parliamentary Party, he resigned after joining Sinn Féin, and lost the ensuing by-election. The first abstentionist MP elected was Count George Noble Plunkettafter the North Roscommon by-election of 3 February 1917. [Lydon, p.343.]
Sinn FéinMembers of Parliament (MPs) elected in 1918 to the Parliament of the United Kingdomrefused to sit in that body and instead constituted themselves as the first "Dáil", which was claimed to be the legitimate parliamentof the Irish Republic. One strand within Republicanism, in remaining loyal to this pre-Partition Irish Republic, denies the legitimacy of both the Republic of Irelandand Northern Ireland. Other parties reached accommodation with the southern state but not Northern Ireland. Some groups have boycotted elections within either jurisdiction; others have been abstentionist; others abstained from some bodies but not others. Abstentionism has often been a divisive issue within Republicanism. Anti-Treaty Sinn Féinabstained from the first (1923-27) Dáil of the Irish Free State. Fianna Fáilsplit from Sinn Féin in 1927 and abandoned abstentionism in the Free State, but for a time contested elections to the Parliament of Northern Irelandat Stormont and abstained.
In 1955, Sinn Féin contested local elections in the Republic of Ireland and took its seats.
In 1970, at its
Ard Fheis(annual conference), Sinn Féin split again on the issue of whether or not to reverse its long-standing policy of refusing to taking seats in Dáil Éireann. The split created " Official Sinn Féin" (later Sinn Féin the Workers Party - SFWP) and the abstentionist "Provisional Sinn Féin" (PSF). Sinn Féin the Workers Party won a seat in the Dáil in 1981. It later dropped Sinn Féin from its name to become "The Workers Party", so that PSF became simply "Sinn Féin".
Sinn Féin adopted the "
armalite and ballot box strategy" in 1981, and first contested modern elections in Northern Ireland with the 1982 Assembly elections which they abstained from. They also abstained from the Northern Ireland Forum. They adopted non-abstentionist policies for elections to local authorities (next held in 1985) and to the European Parliament.
Another split occurred in 1986, on the same issue, leading again to two parties - Sinn Féin, led by
Gerry Adams, and Republican Sinn Féin(RSF), led by Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. Sinn Féin's first sitting Teachta Dálawas Caoimhghín Ó Caoláinin Cavan-Monaghan in 1997.
RSF has retained the policy of abstentionism from both Dáil Éireann and the
Northern Ireland Assembly. RSF has not in fact contested elections for Dáil Éireann or Westminster. It is not a registered party in Northern Ireland, but members have contested the Assembly elections as independents.
In Northern Ireland
After Partition, most non-abstentionist parties in the southern state did not organise at all in Northern Ireland.
The Nationalist Party did not take their seats during the first Stormont parliament (1921-25). Despite forming the second-largest
parliamentary party, they did not accept the role of Opposition for a further forty years. They did so on 2 February 1965but withdrew from opposition again in October 1968, two weeks after police batonned demonstrators at a civil rights march in Derryon 5 October 1968. [Brendan Lynn (1979), "Holding the Ground: The Nationalist Party in Northern Ireland, 1945-1972" ISBN 1 85521 980 8. ( [http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/politics/docs/lynn97.htm CAIN Web Service] )]
Social Democratic and Labour Party(SDLP) became the Opposition on its formation on 21 August 1970but that party withdrew from Stormont in July 1971. The SDLP participated in the assembly set up for the Sunningdale Agreement, and in the Constitutional Convention. However, they abstained from the 1982 Assembly, and their participation in the Northern Ireland Forumwas intermittent.
Since the establishment of the
Northern Ireland Assemblyunder the Good Friday Agreement, both the SDLP and Sinn Féin have taken their seats in that body. SDLP MPs have consistently taken their seats in the Westminsterparliament, in contrast to Sinn Féin MPs who refuse to take their seats there, as they refuse to recognise that body's right to legislate for any part of Ireland.
Fianna Fáil registered as a political party within Northern Ireland in 2007. It hss not made clear whether it will contest elections to Westminster.
Irish republican legitimatism
Oath of Allegiance (UK)
Oath of Allegiance (Ireland)
*cite web |url=http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/abstentionism/index.html |title=Abstentionism: Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, 1-2 November 1986 - Menu Page |publisher=
Conflict Archive on the Internet|accessdate=2008-01-14
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
abstenţionism — abstenţionísm s. n. abţinere demonstrativă de la exercitarea dreptului de vot. (< fr. abstentionnisme) Trimis de tavi, 08.01.2003. Sursa: MDN ABSTENŢIONÍSM s.n. Abţinere demonstrativă de la exercitarea dreptului de vot; doctrină care susţine … Dicționar Român
abstentionism — noun A belief in the desirability of withholding ones vote or other participation with regard to some aspect of the political process. Abstentionism is a manifestation of political independence. See Also: abstain … Wiktionary
abstentionism — abstentionist, n., adj. /ab sten sheuh niz euhm/, n. the refusal of a government to participate in international relations or alliances that it regards as detrimental to its interests. [ABSTENTION + ISM] * * * … Universalium
abstentionism — É™b stenÊƒÉ™nÉªzm n. policy of refusing to vote, practice of avoiding political involvement … English contemporary dictionary
abstentionism — ab·sten·tion·ism … English syllables
abstentionism — noun see abstention … Useful english dictionary
Republican Sinn Féin — Infobox Irish Political Party party name = Republican Sinn Féin Sinn Féin Poblachtach party articletitle = Republican Sinn Féin party leader = Ruairí Ó Brádaigh foundation = 1986 [Claims to be a continuation of Sinn Féin, which was launched in… … Wikipedia
Christian views on alcohol — Jesus making wine from water in The Marriage at Cana, a 14th century fresco from the Visoki Dečani monastery. Christian views on alcohol are varied. Throughout the first 1,800 years of church history, Christians consumed alcoholic beverages as … Wikipedia
Continuity Irish Republican Army — (Óglaigh na hÉireann) Participant in The Troubles and Dissident Irish Republican Campaign 1998 Present A CIRA propaganda p … Wikipedia
Sinn Féin — For the 19th century use of the term, see Sinn Féin (19th century). Sinn Féin Secretary General Dawn Doyle Founder Arthur Griffith … Wikipedia