An alliance of three opposition parties won parliamentary elections in St. Kitts and Nevis, denying its prime minister a fifth consecutive term in power, officials said today, according to the Associated Press (AP).
The final result came on a day of confusion over the deal in the release of the preliminary results by the Director of Elections and in the backdrop of months of political manoeuvring over a motion of no-confidence that the opposition was trying to bring against the government.
AP said that outgoing Prime Minister Denzil Douglas conceded defeat late this afternoon, extending his congratulations to the Team Unity coalition led by Timothy Harris, a former minister in his Cabinet.
“I wish our newly elected government well,” said Douglas, who had been prime minister since 1995.
Harris, the prime minister-elect for his bloc as it begins a five-year term, called it a “great day” for the twin-island country.
Final results from Monday’s election were still pending, but the Team Unity alliance said it won at least seven of the 11 seats in Parliament.
AP said that Elections Supervisor Wingrove George was widely criticized earlier today after he suspended reporting of partial results.
The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and other observers called for ballot counting to be expedited. Political leaders from other regional nations said George’s office needed to hurry up and deliver the results, which had been expected early in the day since St. Kitts and Nevis has only about 36,000 registered voters.
“The region’s reputation for democracy and for free and fair elections will be under threat as long as this issue in St. Kitts and Nevis remains unresolved,” Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had said in a statement.
AP said that George had told state-owned radio and TV station ZIZ that some candidates were contesting preliminary results, slowing an official announcement from his office.
“We don’t want to hurriedly make decisions and determinations that we can’t recall,” George was quoted as saying, AP said.
An earlier statement issued by Caricom on the situation follows:
CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Perry Christie of The Bahamas has said the Caribbean Community is extremely concerned that the results of the preliminary count of yesterday’s general elections in St. Kitts and Nevis has not been officially declared, and he has called on the Supervisor of Elections to do so without further delay.
In a Statement issued today, the CARICOM Chairman also called on all concerned to fulfil their obligations in the electoral process, respect the will of the people and ensure that the democratic traditions of the Caribbean Community are upheld.
Christie congratulated the people of St. Kitts and Nevis for the peaceful manner in which the voting was conducted, despite some challenges.
His full statement follows
STATEMENT FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF CARICOM,
- HON. PERRY G. CHRISTIE, PRIME MINISTER OF THE BAHAMAS
On behalf of the Caribbean Community, I congratulate the people of St. Kitts and Nevis for the peaceful manner in which polling at the general elections was conducted yesterday, 16 February 2015. In a preliminary report to the CARICOM Secretary-General, the Chief of the CARICOM Electoral Observation Mission stated that the process was generally orderly, despite some challenges.
CARICOM is therefore extremely concerned that the Supervisor of Elections has not yet officially declared the results of the preliminary count. The Caribbean Community calls on the Supervisor of the Elections to do so without further delay. The time-honoured practice in St. Kitts and Nevis has been to release the preliminary results of elections within hours of the close of the polls. The non-release of the preliminary results is therefore unacceptable and creates a climate of uncertainty.
I call on all concerned to fulfill their obligations in the electoral process, to respect the will of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and to ensure that the democratic traditions of our Caribbean Community are upheld.