The Antigua and Barbuda Labor Party (ABLP) has won a landslide victory in the country’s parliamentary election on promises to turn around a stagnant economy, high unemployment and crime.
The ABLP, led by Gaston Browne, garnered 14 out of the 17 seats in the parliament, becoming the overwhelming majority, while Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer’s United Progressive Party (UPP) only got three, showed statistics released by Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission on Friday.
A total of 43,077 eligible electorates cast their ballots on Thursday’s election, the data showed, adding that 56.21 percent voted for the ABLP, while 41.77 percent supported the UPP.
Since 1989, the twin-island nation’s parliamentary elections had been held in March, making this June poll an exception. The dispute between the ruling party and the opposition on the election arrangement resulted in the delay.
Before the East Caribbean Supreme Court could make the final rule, the country’s parliament ended its term and dismissed itself in April.
During the race, the ABLP adopted “Ready to Rebuild” as its campaign catchphrase, declaring “More Jobs, More Investment, Less Tax” for the eastern Caribbean nation that has been hit hard by the global economic crisis.
“We will move Antigua and Barbuda from a welfare state where many depend on government for their daily survivor and are solely disappointed, to a proud country where wealth is in the pockets of all the people,” said Browne before the election.
Some 500 homes will be build in 500 days, said the prime minister-elect.
Browne, 47, has been elected into the parliament since 1999. He will be sworn in as the new prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda later Friday by Governor General Louise Lake-Tack.
After the victory, a teary-eyed Browne told a press conference that he would keep the promises made during the campaign and never betray people’s trust.
He told reporters that the victory was not time for “gloating” since “it would require a lot of work” forward. “The work will start from today not tomorrow,” he said.
As his first act, the prime minister-elect declared this Friday a national holiday. However, it is a holiday for himself.
Browne said he plans to meet with the National Security Council later Friday as well as some investors in the first step to ” transform this country into an economic powerhouse.”