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DUP vote pact with southern parties an option

IT is likely that David Ford's suggestions to improve Stormont's governance (News, July 10) will be stymied by precisely those aspects of it that he wants to change – ie given its present political make-up any changes will be blocked by a Petition of Concern. A catch-22 of some magnitude.

Of course, were the political make-up of Stormont to change, this could alter the outcome.

For example Fianna Fail (FF) and Fine Gael (FG) have indicated that they would field candidates in Northern Ireland by 2019.

Were they, instead, entreated to put up candidates for the 2016 Stormont elections and their successful MLAs minded to designate as 'nationalists', then they could affect the outcome of any Petition of Concern.

One way to establish such a relationship would be to have an electoral pact with FF or FG for the 2016 PR vote to Stormont.

For example, the DUP leadership could advise its electorate to place their first vote for the DUP candidate, their second vote for FF or FG, and then vote down the slate for other unionist candidates.

Surplus votes from successful DUP candidates, or transfers from eliminated candidates, would then go to FF or FG and in turn their surplus votes, or those from eliminated candidates, would transfer across to the DUP, or other unionist candidates.

The benefit for the DUP (and other 'unionist' parties) would be to have a partner among designated 'nationalists' that they think they can work with and, perhaps, together form a functional and coherent Government.

BERNARD J MULHOLLAND

Belfast

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