28th May 2003
Britain denies democracy in Ireland once again
Speaking at a press conference in Dublin today Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said:
``We are here one day before the day elections were supposed to be held in theSix Counties. We should now all, at least all the media in the Six Countiesshould be bound by the pre-election moratorium on broadcasting. The people ofthe Six Counties should be preparing to go to the polls. They should be aboutto exercise their democratic rights and indeed obligations. And at least a fewcandidates or existing MLAs across all parties should be starting to sweat aboutthe possible outcome of that election.
``However, it is not to be. Democracy has been once again denied in Ireland.The British Government has unilaterally, not only suspended the institutions andthe Assembly, but they have gone a significant step further by cancelling theelections altogether.
``This is Britain's response to a crisis in the peace process ? to a crisis inconfidence. Where else in the world would you get it?
``In any normal democratic society, a crisis in the political institutions wouldlead directly to elections to establish a fresh mandate for the politicalparties. That is the way of democracy. That is the way of politics.
``To make conflict a thing of the past and to allow politics to work there has tobe a viable political, democratic and peaceful alternative to war. The logic ofthis was accepted not only in the Good Friday Agreement itself but also in therecently published Joint Declaration.
``The British government had no right to cancel elections in Ireland and theIrish government and indeed all the parties in Leinster House were right tooppose their decision. But that opposition can't be just token opposition ? itmust be real and vocal opposition.
``The Irish government's status as a joint and co-equal partner in the GoodFriday Agreement has to be restored, recognised and defended. Accepting ormeekly going along with the British decision is aiding the subversion ofdemocracy that their actions represent.
``The key to making politics work is democracy. That means that people have theright to vote. It means elections and it means elections immediately.
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