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Northern Ireland "moving inexorably" towards a snap election: Mairtin O Muilleoir

By Gareth Fullerton

Sinn Fein continued its preparations for an Assembly election on Sunday after ruling out any late move to nominate a new Deputy First Minister.

The party has selected four candidates to contest the West Belfast constituency - Alex Maskey, Fra McCann, Pat Sheenan and Órlaithí Flynn.

Speaking at the selection convention, Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said the Northern Ireland Assembly was "moving inexorably" towards a snap election.

"We will go to the Assembly tomorrow (Monday) and we will not be nominating anyone to the post of Deputy First Minister, so we are moving inexorably towards an election," Mr Muilleoir said.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire is obliged to call a fresh election if there is no resolution to the political deadlock at Stormont by 5pm on Monday. The deadline marks seven days since Martin McGuinness resigned from the post of Deputy First Minister.

"Sinn Fein's role on Monday will be to stand up for the ordinary people who are disgusted at the arrogance of the DUP over recent times," Mr Muilleoir said.

He added: "The public will get the chance to have their say."

Meanwhile the SDLP has also started its election campaign even though the 2017 poll has not been formally called yet.

SDLP activists in south Belfast started canvassing for MLA Claire Hanna on Saturday, with party activist Donal Lyons revealing their posters were ready to be erected as soon as the election is called.

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