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 A/V REPORTS
BBC NI's political editor Stephen Grimason:
"The real poll is on 7 June"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 22 May, 2001, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Candidate quadruples chances

Ninety-seven people are standing across the 18 Northern Ireland constituencies in the general election.

Altogether 12 parties have lodged nomination papers to indicate they are running as well as several independents.

Rainbow George Weiss, of the Vote For Yourself Party, is standing in all four Belfast seats.

Surprisingly perhaps, this falls within the rules.

Rainbow George
"Vote for Yourself" says Rainbow George
Candidates are allowed to stand in more than one constituency but in the event of being successful they must then decide within one week which seat they will take.

It is safe to say that the VFY party is not among the favorites for any seat though so Mr Weiss is unlikely to have to make this kind of decision.

Cashflow problems

East Belfast has the highest number of candidates with nine standing and West Tyrone has the lowest.

Only three people have put their names in the hat there.

Nineteen women are standing with more than half going forward for the SDLP and Alliance Party.

All the mainstream parties which fought the assembly elections are represented apart from the Ulster Democratic Party.

It cannot afford to stand for parliament and says it is concentrating on the council elections instead.


Every candidate has to deposit 500 with the returning officer

Every candidate has to deposit 500 with the returning officer. This is returned to them if they gain 5% of the votes cast.

The purpose of the deposit is to deter frivolous candidates.

Candidates must also give the returning officer their full name and address - which need not be in the constituency.

Their nomination papers must be signed by 10 registered voters from the constituency, two of whom must formally propose and second the candidate. The remaining eight merely express their assent.

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