[Sinn Fein]

29th June 2003

McGuinness tells Blair he cannot hold electorate to ransom

Speaking at a Republican Commemoration in Derry today Sinn Fein Chief Negotiator, Martin Mc Guinness addressing his remarks to Tony Blair and the British government said:

``The decision to cancel the elections was wrong, the reason given for cancelling the elections was wrong and the precondition that before any election can be held the indicators must point to a result acceptable to a British government is unacceptable. Tony Blair can not hold Irish voters to ransom.

If the electorate decides to make Sinn Fein the largest party in the North then Tony Blair will just have to accept that. If the electorate wants to make the DUP the largest party in the North then Tony Blair will just have to accept that also. It is not the remit of a British Prime Minister to tell Irish people whom they must vote for. It will be up to the parties given sufficient mandates by the electorate to form an Executive to find a way to resolve any difficulties that arise.

The only thing that Tony Blair achieved by his intervention in the electoral process in the North was to guarantee that the parties would not be given the opportunity to even attempt to form an Executive. Tony Blair must give an assurance that there will be no further interference in the electoral process and that the elections will proceed in the autumn without any preconditions. The people are entitled to have their say.''ENDS

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