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Friday, 12 May, 2000, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
Defection dents SF mayoral hopes
Belfast says yes to Sinn Fein Deputy lord mayor
Belfast: Changing times at the City Hall
The chances of a Sinn Fein candidate becoming Belfast's Lord Mayor have been dealt a blow following the defection of a councillor from the party holding the balance of power.

The Search for Peace
City councillor Danny Dow resigned from the Alliance Party following indications the cross community party may support a Sinn Fein candidate in the mayoral election on 1 June.

The defection means that the combined vote of Sinn Fein, the Social Democratic and Labour Party and the Alliance Party is one short of the overall majority needed.

Mr Dow, who was elected in the mainly unionist Victoria ward in east Belfast, said he had decided "there would be no Sinn Fein lord mayor".

"If I stood on an election platform and said Danny Dow was going to vote for a Sinn Fein lord mayor the first opportunity he gets, Danny Dow would not have been elected.

"I'm there to do what the people in the street tell me to do, the people that actually vote for me.

"That's what I'm there to represent, not to represent some high and mighty, know better than you attitude."

In a heated exchange on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme, Sinn Fein councillor Sean McKnight accused Mr Dow of being a "dinosaur" who was failing to recognise the changing political situation.

He said Mr Dow's only concern was his re-election in the Victoria ward.

Alex Maskey: Sinn Fein's likely candidate for Belfast mayoralty
He would not rule out the election of a Sinn Fein candidate, likely to be West Belfast assembly member Alex Maskey.

Councillor Maskey is the longest serving Sinn Fein elected representative on Belfast City Council.

"We now hold senior posts in here, we will go on to hold the most senior post," said Mr McKnight.

He said the party had successfully challenged attempts by other parties to exclude Sinn Fein members from positions on committees and other council bodies.

The outgoing deputy mayor is a Sinn Fein member, Councillor Marie Moore.

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02 Jun 99 | UK Politics
Rival NI parties to share top jobs
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