The leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) of Dominica, Lennox Linton, has rejected the outcome of Friday’s vote and is demanding fresh elections.
Mr Linton claims that the voting was rigged.
The UWP lost Friday's general election to the incumbent Dominica Labour Party(DLP) of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit by 18 seats to 3.
Their parliamentary presence was reduced from 6 seats to 3 in the 21-seat parliament.
Mr Linton alleges that thousands Dominica nationals who reside overseas were bribed to return home vote.
He also alleges that their travel and accommodation was funded out of revenue illicitly obtained through the sale of Dominican passports and ambassadorships via the country's Citizen By Investment scheme (CBI).
Under Dominica’s constitution, nationals in the diaspora have the right to vote in elections in their homeland.
In a statement on social media, Mr Linton, quoting figures from the Dominica Electoral Office, calculated that “we had almost 40,000 people voting in the elections; 23,300 for the Dominica Labour Party, 16,300 for the United Workers Party.”
Dominica has a population of 73,900.
Bit he claims that of those who voted for the DLP of Prime Minister Skerrit, “We’re told that up to estimates of 13,300 people who were brought in, bribed, from overseas to come in to vote in the elections in Dominica.”
The UWP leader estimates that even if the number was not that high and was around 8,000, “when you take that 8,000 out of the 23,000, you’re down to 15,300 (which is) less than the number of people who voted for his UWP, those living in Dominica.”
He insists that the election was decided by those Dominicans living overseas who he said were bribed into returning home to vote for the prime minister’s party.
Opposition Leader Linton criticises the government for not putting in place recommended electoral reforms which he feels would have prevented the irregularities he claims have taken place.
He rubbishes the government’s commitment to put those reforms in place as a priority in its new governing period, calling it hypocritical and arguing that it should have been done before the elections.
Mr Linton is also critical of the country’s president, the police and other ‘other instruments of state’ which he claimed are not working in the interest of the people of Dominica but are instead favouring Prime Minister Skerrit and his DLP government.
He also dismissed preliminary comments by election monitors that the election was generally free and fair.
“As far as we are concerned this illegitimate result renders the election null and void and it renders the government null and void. We will not recognise this government because it is the result of a stolen election,” the opposition leader stated.
A heated election campaign saw several demonstrations by mainly opposition supporters with roadblocks, fires, and skirmishes with the police.
It resulted in the deployment of contingencies from the Caricom Regional Security System to assist local police with maintaining order.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Skerrit declared Sunday December 8th as a Day of Peace for Dominica.
In a statement on his Facebook social media, he said: “I give this country my full assurance, that the Dominica Labour Party and I are completely committed to the dual task of healing the nation and building the nation.”
Mr Skerrit whose ruling DLP won the election by increasing its seat count from 15 to 18 in the 21-seat parliament, ran the campaign with 12 new candidates including his wife, Melissa Poponne Skerrit, who won a seat as a first-timer.