Ian Paisley to quit as leader
of N. Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) -
Ian Paisley, the Protestant evangelist who leads Northern
Ireland's power-sharing administration, said Tuesday he is
quitting as the leader of his Democratic Unionist Party.
Paisley said he made the decision to leave in
May after mounting pressure from within his party in recent
weeks to stand aside.
Paisley, 81, has dominated Northern Ireland
political life for four turbulent decades and his departure from
the political front line marks the end of an era.
He said he will step down after an investment
conference in Belfast organized by the power-sharing executive.
"I came to this decision a few weeks ago when I
was thinking very much about the conference and what was going
to come after the conference," Paisley said.
"I thought that it is a marker, a very big
marker and it would be a very appropriate time for me to bow
Although he will resign as Northern Ireland's
first minister, he said he plans to remain a member of British
Parliament and a Northern Ireland Assembly member.
His leadership was widely seen as having been
undermined when his son, Ian Paisley Jr., was forced to resign
last month from the coalition amid allegations of ethical