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Contest too close to call for SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell and Margaret Ritchie

By Noel McAdam

Published 06/02/2010

Contestants vying to become the next leader of the SDLP will this morning go head-to-head in the closing stages of the four-month race.

Current deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell and the party’s only Executive minister, Margaret Ritchie, will make final pitches on why they should be the person to replace Mark Durkan.

And it is thought they will also take questions from some of the 400-plus delegates at |the party’s annual conference, many of whom may still be undecided.

Voting for the two candidates began as the conference, in the Slieve Donard, Newcastle, got under way around teatime last night and the result will be announced by lunchtime tomorrow, the closing day of the conference.

Claims by the respective Ritchie and McDonnell camps that the outcome remains |too close to call were being backed last night — by the bookies.

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