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Social Democratic and Labour Party

SDLP hopes Maginness can take Euro seat

Social Democratic and Labour Party 22%

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THE SDLP has launched its European Parliament manifesto, claiming it can win one of the three Northern Ireland seats. Alban Maginness said his party’s supporters would turn out to vote if there was a belief that he could win. The SDLP senses an opportunity thanks to the three-way split in the unionist vote between the DUP, the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) and the Ulster Unionist-Conservative pact. Leader Mark Durkan told a press conference in Belfast yesterday that the party would also treat the EU elections as a mid-term test of opinion on the Stormont Executive. He said his party stood for “credible and clean politics” and offered the electorate a better government at Stormont and better politics. Turning to the ongoing controversy about MPs’ expenses and allowances, he accused DUP leader Peter Robinson of being “a rich leader heading a poor government”. Both the DUP and Sinn Féin were on top electorally, he admitted, but they were not on top of the issues of relevance to voters or to Europe as a whole. Introducing Mr Maginness as a candidate, he said Northern Ireland could not afford to send back to Brussels “three degrees of Eurosceptics”. Mr Maginness also cited what he said was “a deep disillusionment” among voters, especially over expenses, the schools transfer process, the environment and the economy. “There is a distinct feeling that the Executive two years on had not delivered,” he said. The core of his address was on the need for the party’s supporters to turn out to vote. “Staying at home will not change anything,” he said, reflecting a belief that the SDLP could win a seat if its vote turns out on June 4th. Privately, party sources believe TUV leader Jim Allister will poll well, taking votes principally from the DUP. They hope that Mr Maginness, if he can stay in the count with sufficient first preferences, will benefit from transfers from smaller parties to win back the seat lost after John Hume’s retirement in 2004. He repeatedly cited the SDLP’s membership of the European Socialists’ group in the EU, and its role in backing the peace process in Northern Ireland, claiming this gave his party . reater influence in EU circles.



Thursday, May 28, 2009

autor: DAN KEENAN, Northern News Editor

source: www.irishtimes.com


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