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How the SDLP leadership contest works...

The SDLP leadership contest between incumbent Alasdair McDonnell and challenger Colum Eastwood will climax at the party's conference on Friday and Saturday November 13-14.

Candidates, including those planning to run for the deputy leader's job, have until this Thursday to confirm their intentions in writing to the party's general secretary. The SDLP will then relay confirmation of candidates to its membership.

In the coming weeks there will be a series of hustings events run by various groups within the party at which the candidates will set out their vision and field questions from members.

Voting will be based a delegates system, whereby each of the party's 60-odd branches receives a block of votes based on membership size. For each ten members a branch receives two votes and an additional vote for each ten delegates thereafter.

In addition to this each MP, MLA and councillor has a single vote each.

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