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Last Updated: Friday, 22 December 2006, 12:01 GMT
McLaughlin stands in South Antrim
Mitchel McLaughlin
Mitchel McLaughlin is to stand in South Antrim
Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin has made a surprise switch of constituency for next March's assembly election.

Mr McLaughlin is moving to South Antrim, where Sinn Fein does not currently have an assembly seat.

He said he believed securing a seat in South Antrim for Sinn Fein would be the best way he could serve the party's strategy at this time.

South Antrim is currently represented by two DUP MLAs, two Ulster Unionists, one SDLP member and one Alliance.

In the 2003 assembly election the IRA veteran Martin Meehan got more first preference votes for Sinn Fein than the Alliance leader David Ford.

However, Mr Ford benefited from unionist transfers and edged Mr Meehan out by 180 votes.

In the 2005 Westminster election Sinn Fein again pushed Mr Ford into fifth position.

Mitchel McLaughlin had high hopes of capturing the Foyle seat in 2005.

But when the votes were counted the SDLP Leader Mark Durkan enjoyed a 6,000 majority.

Selections

Sinn Fein have now selected the former IRA prisoners Raymond McCartney and Martina Anderson as candidates, together with local councillor Lynn Fleming.

The announcement in South Antrim follows some surprises from Sinn Fein selection meetings elsewhere.

In Newry and Armagh the party has deselected two sitting MLAs Davy Highland and Patricia O'Rawe.




SEE ALSO
McLaughlin 'won't stand in Europe'
21 Aug 03 |  Northern Ireland

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