Irish American Information Service

11/06/03 14:39 EST
Sinn Fein could take a third of Belfast's Assembly seats in this month's election, party leader Mr Gerry Adams claimed tonight.

As Sinn Fein's campaign picked up pace, the West Belfast MP told the launch of his party's Belfast campaign they could increase their number of Stormont seats in the city from five to eight.

He said: "We are standing right across Belfast. We have five MLAs at the moment. We want eight. That's a big, big job. We also want to see Paul Butler coming through in Lagan Valley, which just touches on a part of Belfast."

"We are fighting this as a city-wide campaign - South, North, East and West. Right across the city, we are going to see an extra person - Kathy Stanton in North Belfast to join Gerry Kelly. We are going to see Alex Maskey elected in South Belfast. We are going to see Joe O'Donnell increasing his vote in the east of the city and in West Belfast, our aim is to win five seats."

In the 2001 local government election Sinn Fein received 28.4 per cent of the city's vote, making it the largest single grouping on Belfast City Council with 14 seats.

The Ulster Unionists secured 18.3 per cent with 11 councillors, the Democratic Unionists got 18.1 per cent with 10 seats and the SDLP had nine councillors elected with 17.4 per cent.

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