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Sinn Fein Wins West Belfast By-Election

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TEHRAN, June 11 (ICANA) – Northern Ireland's main political party Sinn Fein has received a boost after Paul Maskey won the West Belfast constituency's by-election.
Saturday, June 11, 2011 6:41:15 PM
Sinn Fein Wins West Belfast By-Election

The constituency was vacant since Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams resigned earlier this year to join the Republic of Ireland's parliament as an MP.

Maskey, a sitting assembly member and a long-time Belfast city councilor, managed to secure 70.6 percent of the vote in Thursday's by-election, garnering 16,211 votes, British media reported.

The SDLP's Alex Attwood won 3,088 votes and stood second, while Gerry Carroll of People Before Profit finished third with 1,751 votes.

Brian Kingston of the DUP took 1,393 votes, Bill Manwaring of the UUP won 386 and Aaron McIntyre of the Alliance Party ended up with 122.

The by-election's turnout was registered at 37.53 percent, which set a record low in Northern Ireland.

Maskey said he was not concerned by the turnout, adding that people had been asked to cast three separate votes just five weeks ago for the Northern Ireland Assembly, local government and AV referendum.

"I am delighted to be elected by the people, they have endorsed Sinn Fein yet again for their Westminster seat," he added.

Sinn Fein's lawmakers have not taken their seats at Westminster because they refuse to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen.

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