IOL: Sinn Féin 'to win five extra seats'

Sinn Féin 'to win five extra seats'
19/11/2003 - 17:49:58

Sinn Féin is poised to take at least five extra seats in next week’s Northern Ireland Assembly election, the party predicted tonight.

With voters due to go to the polls next Wednesday, a senior Sinn Féin source said the party would increase its representation at Stormont to at least 23 seats.

He also claimed that under the proportional representation system, there would be more transfers from the rival nationalist SDLP to his party.

“We are getting a lot of credit on the doorsteps for our efforts in the peace process,” he said.

“We believe that we are on target to achieve a 60% transfer rate.

“Our latest analysis shows that we can win at least five extra seats.”

The source said Sinn Féin was intent on maximising the nationalist vote and encouraging supporters to transfer down the ballot paper to the SDLP and then other pro-Good Friday Agreement candidates after backing republicans.

He said the party was emphasising the need for strong nationalist representation at Stormont because there was a possibility that unionists could have more ministries in the next power sharing government if the Sinn Féin and SDLP votes were not maximised.

“We have been explaining that to people,” he said.

“However, I don’t think that some voters have been aware of that.

“It is not a sectarian argument and people are content that Sinn Féin and the SDLP are going into this election on a pro-Agreement basis.”

The Sinn Féin source dismissed SDLP claims, however, that in some constituencies the battle was between them and the Reverend Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists.

Sinn Féin today set out its policing policies but came under fire from the nationalist SDLP’s chairman Alex Attwood.

The West Belfast candidate claimed Sinn Féin’s manifesto had little to say on the real issues of law and order, such as car crime, protecting the elderly and investigating burglaries.

Mr Attwood claimed: “Their manifesto has little to say on these issues because people know that there is little that they can do.

“They’re not on the Policing Board. They are not on the District Policing Partnerships.

“All they have delivered is their seats on these bodies to anti-Patten unionists.”

The SDLP launched a 12-point plan which its representatives on the Policing Board and District Policing Partnerships would work to over the next four years.

They included ensuring that there was a proper police response to local emergency calls, pushing the police to pursue, prosecute and seize the assets of drug pushers and traffickers, prosecuting bars and off-licences that sell alcohol to under-18s, and getting more police officers out onto the streets instead of sitting behind desks.

The party was buoyed today by European Union Commissioner Chris Patten’s call for Sinn Féin to sign up to policing arrangements and urge young republicans to join the police.

Following yesterday’s public clash between Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble and Democratic Unionist deputy leader Peter Robinson on the campaign trail, a former member of the UUP today launched a stinging attack on his ex-colleagues.

Democratic Unionist North Down Assembly candidate Peter Weir said: “The UUP are a party which abandons its words to the voters, thereby abandoning the people who voted for them.

“There is a place for those people who have been let down by the Ulster Unionists. They can place their trust in the DUP.”

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?