[Sinn Fein]

28th June 2003

Elections must go ahead without preconditions or delay

Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin speaking at a meeting of the party s Ard Chomhairle in Dublin this morning said that the only way to fill the dangerous political vacuum which has been allowed to develop is through the implementation of the Agreement and the setting of a firm date for the Assembly elections.

Mr. McLaughlin said:

``For some time now the British government has allowed the process to drift into a dangerous political vacuum, through the suspension of the institutions, the cancellation of the elections and the failure to implement the Agreement. And the only thing that is guaranteed, if we continue with this policy, is that there will be no executive, no power sharing and no political progress.

``The Irish government needs to use the opportunity of next week s meeting of the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to move the British government from this negative position into supporting a renewal of the peace process.  

``There can be no preconditions placed on peoples democratic right to vote.  We need to see the continued implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, we need to see politics working and central to this is the setting of a firm date for the Assembly elections in the Autumn.''

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