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Dominica snap election in turmoil

Regional 26 Nov, 2022 Follow News

Dominica Labour Party supporters celebrate in 2019

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has called a snap general election on December 6, much to the annoyance of the two main opposition parties who have called for a total boycott.

Skerrit defended his decision, two years ahead of the constitutional deadline, dismissing opposition allegations that he is moving towards a dictatorship on the Nature Isle.

The United Workers Party and the Dominica Freedom Party said they are boycotting the election claiming that promised electoral reform has not materialised.

They are urging citizens to boycott the elections until Sir Dennis Byron, the former president of the Caribbean Court of Justice, completes his assignment as the sole commissioner advancing the efforts toward electoral reform.

Sir Dennis had proposed presenting the first phase of his report by the end of November with the Parliament tabling the Register of Electors legislation in December and the plan to enact it in January 2023.

As he addressed a political meeting of his ruling Dominica Labour Party, Skerrit, 50, who became Prime Minister in 2004, said Dominica is not the first country in the Caribbean to call a snap poll, giving examples of St Kitts-Nevis and Barbados doing the same recently.

In the 2019 general election, the ruling DLP won 18 of the 21 seats in the Parliament with the remaining three going to the UWP. Skerrit is among six DLP candidates who have already been declared winners in the December 6 poll with the Electoral Office announcing that 45 candidates will contest the remaining 15 seats at stake.

Skerrit denied that democracy was at risk, using as an example Grenada where the ruling party has enjoyed a clean sweep three times in the past elections.

He said: “The incumbent government in Barbados has won two consecutive elections with a clean sweep of the Parliament on each occasion and democracy is not under siege. But in Dominica, an opposition party that has lost five consecutive general elections chooses three years into the term to get rid of its leader, to break itself into factions, and to choose leadership candidates…and I am a villain for calling an election when the opposition has its pants off.”

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