Unity Labour Party of St. Vincent and the Grenadines leader Ralph Gonsalves has won a historic fourth consecutive term in office, following a bitter election campaign against Arnhim Eustace of the New Democratic Party.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves (L) led his opponent, Arnhim Eustace of the New Democratic Party, in a poll by CADRES, according to the ULP. | Photo: Facebook / Unity Labour Party
Citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines cast their vote in the country’s general election on Dec. 9.
According to the country’s electoral officials, the Unity Labour Party retained the eight parliamentary seats it secured in the 2010 general elections. The main opposition New Democratic Party won 7 seats, based on the exit poll data.
Prime Minister Gonsalves announced on Nov. 8 that the country’s parliament would be dissolved within a month. The announcement set off one month of divisive political campaigning that included the release of an audio sex tape, allegedly featuring the prime minister’s voice along with what Gonsalves described as “falsified” bank statements in his name. Following Wednesday’s result, Prime Minister Gonsalves declared victory, calling for a period of celebration in “peace and maturity.”
“I am humbled and honored that the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines embraced our bold vision for the future and rejected the politics of hate,” he said. “Now is the time to come together as one nation to address our developmental challenges and move forward to uplift our nation and its people.”
He also called for a recount of the votes in two constituencies: North Leeward and South Leeward.
“We want an immediate recount to ensure that all the votes are counted in those constituencies. There are more rejected ballots than the margin and those ballots should be examined closely to determine the intent of the votes.”
The Opposition New Democratic Party has challenged the election results and also called for a recount.
Political analysts had predicted a tough battle for Gonsalves in his bid to retain power. Regional Political Scientist Peter Wickham, an analyst of Wednesday’s poll, said the results showed that while the people may have been ready for change they were unsatisfied with the performance of the opposition NDP party.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Agency for Public Information said that Gonsalves will accept the oath of office for the fourth time on Thursday afternoon.