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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 08:00 GMT
SDLP row over election process
SDLP leader Mark Durkan
Mark Durkan rejected the criticism of the process
An SDLP assembly member for Londonderry has indicated she may stand as an independent candidate after being deselected from the party's election team.

Annie Courtney described Wednesday night's selection meeting as a "sham and a farce" because of the method the party used to choose its candidates.

The party's leader, Mark Durkan, rejected the criticism, saying the selection process had been changed to make it more fair.

Mrs Courtney said she would announce her decision within the next two weeks.

"That's something I can't decide now because I have to discuss that with people.

If there was a sham and a farce, it was where seven nominees had agreed a process
Mark Durkan
SDLP leader
"I'm going away for two weeks on Monday and I will make my decision accordingly," she said.

"At the end of the day I just felt it was not going to be a selection that we could give our support to."

"Process agreed"

But Mark Durkan said Mrs Courtney had been involved in the choosing the method for selection.

"What Annie seems to be calling a sham and a farce was a voting procedure that allowed each of the five nominees remaining to be voted for or against by the party membership on a one member, one vote basis," he said.

"If there was a sham and a farce, it was where seven nominees had agreed a process - a process that Annie then participated in on the basis that she was going to accept the outcome."

SDLP councillor Gerard Diver, from the Waterside area of Derry, replaced Mrs Courtney on the party's election team.

The other candidates are Mr Durkan, Derry Mayor Pat Ramsey and councillor Mary Bradley.

Assemblywoman Annie Courtney:
"This has been a very tense time for us"

BBC NI's Brian Kernohan:
"Party officers say the four successful candidates had each been ratified by a landslide"

SDLP member 'being forced out'
18 Feb 03 |  Northern Ireland
Rodgers to leave assembly
17 Sep 02 |  Northern Ireland
SDLP debates party overhaul
24 Jun 00 |  Northern Ireland

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