Isnin, 28 Mac 2011

Pakatan seat talks: Two-thirds resolved

Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat today finalised seat allocations for two-thirds or 48 out of 71 state assembly seats for the April 16 state election.

The Pakatan presidential council has formally endorsed the decision to allocate 15 Chinese-majority seats to DAP and five Malay/Melanau seats to PAS, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said.

Party deputy president Azmin Ali also confirmed that PKR would contest at least 24 seats, while discussions between PKR and local Pakatan partner Snap on 23 overlapping seats were continuing.

He said PKR has no objection to Snap contesting four Dayak-majority seats.

Speaking to reporters after attending the Pakatan presidential council meeting, Azmin said PKR and Snap were now in their third round of seat negotiations.

He said vice-president Tian Chua, who is leading PKR's negotiation team today, has been deliberating with his Snap counterparts over their respective “wish lists” since morning.

“Hopefully, we can settle things as soon as possible, because Pakatan expects to announce its seats by the end of this month,” Azmin said, adding that the overlapping seats made up most of the 28 Dayak-majority state seats in Sarawak.

In two announcements made by Snap earlier to declare its intent to contest 27 seats in the Sarawak election, the party at one time even called PKR “arrogant” for wanting to take the lion's share of the state seats.

The situation eventually simmered down, though both parties still failed to resolve the seat allocation dispute despite Azmin's assurance that they expected to reach a consensus by last Thursday.

Earlier, at a press conference, Anwar expressed his confidence that PKR and Snap would be able to sort out their seat negotiations well in time for nomination day on April 6.

Negotiations only for unconfirmed seats

He said the negotiations would not include the 20 seats that will go to DAP and PAS, as agreed upon earlier.

Anwar brushed aside talk of difficulties in negotiations between PKR and Snap, saying negotiations were on-going despite having settled seat distribution with DAP and PAS as Snap had only “newly joined negotiations seriously”.

But in an apparent reference to talk that Snap is a BN mole, the opposition leader said Pakatan cannot accept any position from Snap other than in support of the young coalition.
“We are still negotiating, but we made it very clear that their (Snap's) position must be for Pakatan Rakyat and against PBB and BN,” he said.

Recently, anti-Taib blog Sarawak Report claimed that Snap had entered into an agreement with BN to act as a spoiler for Pakatan going into the Sarawak state election.

The independent party has since denied the claim, describing it as the work of “of a department of dirty tricks designed to weaken” a resurgent Snap.

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