ULP celebrates Gonsalves’ election win

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves was confident after casting his vote yesterday. (Picture by Charles Jong)

KINGSTOWN – TUE, DECEMBER 14, 2010 – The ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves won an historic third consecutive term in office fighting off a strong battle from the main opposition New Democratic Labour Party (NDP) in yesterday’s general election.

Supporters of the ULP took to the streets in celebration after the preliminary results showed that the party had won eight of the 15 seats contested in the general election, while the NDP, which had three seats in the last parliament increased that tally to seven.

Prime Minister Gonsalves, 64, who comfortably retained his North Central Windward seat, had called the elections nearly four months ahead of schedule telling voters that they were better off since 2001 when his party first came to power defeating the NDP.

But the NDP, which had defeated the government in last November’s national referendum for a new constitution, had campaigned on a theme of returning government to the people after it accused Gonsalves of harbouring close links with countries such as Iran, Libya and Venezuela.

According to the preliminary results, the ULP won the Central Leeward, North Windward, North Central Windward, South Central Windward, South Windward, Marriaqua, East St. George and West St. George seats, while the NDP was victorious in the Northern Grenadines, Southern Grenadines, South Leeward, North Leeward, Central Kingstown, West Kingstown, and East Kingstown.

“Any party would take a one-seat majority,” said political commentator Jomo Thomas, noting also that the NDP had scored a “moral victory’ coming from three seats to garner seven in the new parliament.

“There will be a serious introspection within the government now. You are now governing on a razor’s edge,” Thomas said, noting that once the ULP is able to hold all its members together it could last the full five year term in office.

“But you know the history in St., Vincent and the Grenadines,’ he said, no doubt a reference to the 1998 results when a similar 8-7 margin was obtained and the NDP government fell after two and a half years.

“We may well be in for a very interesting period,” Thomas said.

The victory has given Gonsalves the opportunity he said he needed to groom a new generation of ULP leaders and to consolidate some of his party’s policies, including completing the international airport at Argyle.

The election results may have also ended the efforts by the NDP leader, Arnhim Eustace, who at 65, to regain the prime ministership which he lost when he led the party into defeat in 2001. (CMC)

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