SDLP-SF agreement may still be possible

 

A LIMITED electoral pact between the SDLP and Sinn Fein still appears possible, despite statements by the two party leaders, Mr John Hume and Mr Gerry Adams, at the weekend.

Usually reliable sources have told The Irish Times they believe the leaderships have not ruled out endorsing "independent" or nonaligned candidates in West Tyrone and Mid Ulster - while the two parties would fight each other in Foyle, Newry and Armagh, Fermanagh and South, Tyrone, and West Belfast.

The concept of any alliance or agreement with Sinn Fein over electoral arrangements is the cause of ongoing division within the SDLP Opponents fear they may have lost the argument, following the decision of last year's party conference to remit responsibility for such a decision to the party executive.

At the weekend, Mr Hume appeared to close the option, insisting no pact could take place without a complete end to violence and questioning the motives of republicans seeking a pact while maintaining their traditional policy of abstention. Mr Adams, responding to the SDLP leader, said the campaign between the two parties was under way.