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Sinn Fein anger over DUP Electoral Commission appointment - party's abstentionist policy make it ineligible

 

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Anger: Francie Molloy MP

Anger: Francie Molloy MP

Kevin Scott / Presseye

Anger: Francie Molloy MP

Sinn Fein expressed anger at the appointment of a former DUP MLA as an Electoral Commissioner, claiming they were not even asked to submit a nomination.

However, the party was not eligible to nominate for the position as their MPs do not take their seats in the Commons and swear an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen.

Former East Antrim DUP MLA Alastair Ross was appointed as an Electoral Commissioner on Thursday.

Sinn Fein has seven MPs who do not take their seats due to the party's abstentionist policy at Westminster.

Mid-Ulster MP Francie Molloy launched an attack on the Electoral Commission accusing them of "ignoring the nationalist electorate" and said the move was "the latest in a series of attempts to disenfranchise nationalist voters".

"The Electoral Commission did not even seek nominations from Sinn Fein. Indeed, Sinn Fein was the only party that was not invited to put forward a candidate for consideration as Electoral Commissioner," Mr Molloy said.

“On this basis the party is now seeking legal advice, and will consider how to challenge the matter in the short time ahead.”

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However an Electoral Commission spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph that the issue is not even handled by the commission and was the remit of the Speaker's Committee in the House of Commons.

The spokesperson did say that Sinn Fein were not eligible to nominate an Electoral Commissioner.

"Sinn Fein aren't entitled to put forward as a nomination as a candidate because they do not take part in the Oath of Allegiance," the spokesperson said.

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Alastair Ross

Alastair Ross

Alastair Ross

Members of the House of Commons are required to take on oath or solemn affirmation of allegiance to the Queen upon taking their seats in Parliament.

This is one of the reasons offered by Sinn Fein for not taking their seats.

There are 10 Electoral Commissioners and four of them are nominated by political parties.

One comes from the Conservative Party, one from Labour, and one from the third largest party, the SNP.

The fourth commissioner comes from the smaller parties in the House of Commons, each party with over two seats is entitled to put someone forward.

The DUP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party nominated a candidate and Alastair Ross was appointed.

The  junior minister in the Executive Office stood down from politics last year opting not to seek re-election in the last Assembly poll.


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