[Sinn Fein]

19th April 2003

Elections must go ahead as planned

Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty MP speaking as thousands of republicans prepare to attend Easter rallies throughout Ireland tomorrow said that suggestions that the Assembly elections be postponed or cancelled were not only undemocratic but run completely contrary to a process of conflict resolution which has as a basic tenet the respect for democratic mandates. Mr. Doherty said:

``Over the last number of days we have heard commentators state that the holding of elections would be counter-productive to democracy at this time. If we heard comments such as these in relation to any other country in the world we would be calling on the United Nations to intervene to uphold people s right to choose who they want to represent them.

``It is this type of á la carte attitude to democracy in the Six Counties that allowed systematic, organised and ongoing collusion between British forces and unionist death squads over many years, something which was authorised at the very highest levels of the British political and military establishment. It is the same system that allowed one party rule to operate in the Six Counties for 50 years.

``It is time that the two governments stood by the Agreement which the people voted for five years ago and stopped using basic democratic rights as bargaining tools. They should publish their Joint Declaration; the British government should lift the suspension of the institutions and move to the election of a new Assembly. It is time to allow democracy to prevail.''

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