25 May 1998
Maximise Nationalist RepresentationSpeaking at a press conference in Belfast today, Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty called for a formal voting arrangement with the SDLP in orde r to ``maximise' nationalist representation''.
Mr Doherty said:
``In the forthcoming election Sinn Fein seeks to maximise our vote and to maximise the nationalist erepresentation in the assembly and on the All Ireland Ministerial Council. We believe that this can best be done through a formal voting arrangement with the SDLP which ensures that nationalist voters act in their own interests by voting for nationalist candidates. Some elements say this sectarian appeal - it is not.
``We want to build nationalist strength in order to meet unionists on the basis of equality. A unity of purpose among nationalist and republicans brought us to this point. I believe that the gains so far achieved have to be consolidated and developed during this election and beyond into the new administration. Northern representation in southern institutions must also be pursued vigorously by all nationalists and republicans.
``There is much work to be done to end the legacy of partition and conflict. The leaders of unionism are still trying to prevent fundamental change. It is essential that nationalist and democratic opinion is mobilised politically, that nationalist representation in this new situation is maximised to ensure effective and immediate change to secure equality, justice, cultural rights, demilitarisation, the release of prisoners, a new police service, a new judiciary and an end to sectarian Orange marches in areas like the Garvaghy Road and Lower Ormeau Road.
``Sinn Fein intends to push the Good Friday document to its outer limits and beyond. We believe this approach will anchor and develop the mechanisms for change contained in the document.
``A few years ago we were locked into a seemingly endless conflict with little hope for the future. Today the future is promising.
``David Trimble now needs to talk to us. That is what people voted for- inclusive dialogue. The electorate unconditionally endorsed the Good Friday document as a Charter for Change a Partnership Pact. That is the message from Friday's vote and Sinn Fein will ensure that the process delivers the required change.''
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