‘Hands are tied’ over election date, says Antigua-Barbuda PM

St John’s, Antigua — Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer said in a statement on Monday that his ruling United Progressive Party (UPP) was prepared to face voters in a general election, but claimed that his “hands are tied” due to appeals filed with the courts by the main opposition Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP).

Elections are constitutionally due this month but Spencer, who will be seeking a third consecutive term in office, said that court actions filed by the ABLP over alleged gerrymandering of electoral districts must be resolved before he can, as prime minister, exercise his sole authority for setting the date of the country’s general elections.

ABLP candidate, Samantha Marshall, a local attorney, rejected Spencer’s assertion that the court cases prevented him from setting an election date.

Marshall said, “No court or legislation can supersede the constitutional authority of the prime minister to call the elections. Mr Spencer says his hands are tied but that is not true.”

The last general elections in 2009 were narrowly won by the UPP, gaining 9 of the 17 seats in parliament, with the remainder going to the ABLP.

The ABLP says it is confident of victory whenever the next elections are held.

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