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Close Challenged On Exclusion Remarks

10 March, 2004

Lagan Valley Sinn Féin Representative Councillor Paul Butler has accused the Alliance Party MLA Seamus Close of having an 'a lá carte approach to respecting electoral mandates'. Cllr. Butler's remarks come after Mr Close demanded that the British government exclude Sinn Féin and establish an executive without the largest nationalist party.

Cllr. Butler said:

"It seems from Mr Close's remarks advocating the exclusion of the largest nationalist party that he has adopted a rather strange a lá carte approach to respecting electoral mandates. Sinn Féin gained almost 24% of the total votes in the Assembly election. Mr Close's own party gained only 3.7% of the vote making it one of the smallest unionist parties.

"Mr Close chooses to ignore this democratic reality and proclaim himself spokesperson for the electorate not just who vote Alliance but who voted for anybody else but Sinn Féin.

" his interesting approach to election results however is about as realistic as having a successful political process through the exclusion of the largest nationalist party and the largest pro-Agreement party. The politics of exclusion do not work. Be they at Council level in Lisburn or within the wider process.

"Seamus Close needs to reflect on this reality and on the reality that he speaks for a very small section of opinion, and that in any democratic process his views representing less than 4% of the electorate cannot over ride the rights and entitlements of the majority of nationalists living in the six counties." ENDS

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