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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Adams backs Paisley for top role
Ian Paisley is to be nominated as NI first minister
Ian Paisley is to be nominated as NI first minister
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams is to nominate DUP leader Ian Paisley for the position of Northern Ireland's first minister when the assembly returns.

He has also confirmed party colleague Martin McGuinness will be put forward as deputy first minister.

Mr Adams said Sinn Fein would take part in a business committee at the assembly to ensure the election of ministers.

However, Mr Paisley said until Sinn Fein "met its obligations" there would be no first or deputy first minister.

"I have very good news for Mr Adams - he can't do it," Mr Paisley said.

"There'll be no proposing of anybody who doesn't accept it and I certainly will not be accepting anything from Gerry Adams."

He said Mr Adams and his party would have to meet the same requirements that all other politicians had to meet to be in government. The assembly is being recalled on 15 May with parties being given six weeks to elect an executive.

The business committee also deals with any issues for the urgent preparation of the restoration of government.

Mr Adams made his announcement in an address to his Stormont assembly team on Wednesday.

The West Belfast MP said: "Do I believe Ian Paisley will be first minister? I don't know. I don't even know if he knows.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams
Mr Adams said he was aware of the "irony" in his nomination

"But I'm sure he will be conscious of the irony involved in Sinn Fein preparing to go to Stormont to have him elected as first minister."

The Sinn Fein president said his party would not be participating in the discussion of issues such as education reform water charges, health and rates increases because "that would be pointless".

The DUP is expected to propose South Down assembly member Jim Wells as deputy speaker.

An attempt will be made on 23 May to elect a first and a deputy first minister.

If the parties fail to elect an executive, the 108 members get a further 12 weeks to try to form a multi-party devolved government. If that attempt fails, salaries will stop.

The British and Irish governments would then work on partnership arrangements to implement the Good Friday Agreement.

Devolved government at Stormont was suspended in October 2002 following allegations of a republican spy ring.

A court case arising from the allegations later collapsed.


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