Moderate Northern Ireland party elects new leader


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Indy Politics

The Social Democratic and Labour Party, a moderate Irish nationalist party in Northern Ireland, is electing a new leader.

Four politicians are competing for the top job at today's annual party conference in Belfast. Current deputy leader Patsy McGlone is favorite. 

The SDLP was a guiding force in Northern Ireland's peace process and was long the main party for the Irish Catholic minority. But over the past decade it has been overtaken by the harder-line, better-organized Sinn Fein party. 

The incumbent SDLP leader, Margaret Ritchie, announced she would quit after the Northern Ireland Assembly election in May. The SDLP won just 14 seats in the 108-member legislature. The result meant the SDLP holds only one of 13 Cabinet posts in Northern Ireland's unity government.  AP