November 25, 2020

Jamaica’s opposition party wins big in elections 


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Jamaica’s opposition capitalised on discontent over the economy to return to power Thursday, as voters gave the country’s first female leader a second chance to govern the island.

Supporters of former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, 66, shimmied and shouted in the capital, Kingston, as they heard that the center-right government of Prime Minister Andrew Holness had been defeated and their candidate had staged a dramatic political comeback in general elections.

Holness, Jamaica’s youngest prime minister at 39, said the defeat will prompt a time of introspection and reflection for leaders of his Jamaica Labor Party to examine what went wrong.

“I wish the new government well. We hope for the benefit of the country that they will do a good job,” said Holness, who warned during the campaign that an opposition win would scare away foreign investment and dash hopes of economic progress.

While official results have not been released, elections director Orrette Fisher told The Associated Press that preliminary results showed Simpson Miller’s slightly left-of-center People’s National Party, or PNP, heading to victory.

“Based on the margins, it appears safe to say” that Simpson Miller’s party won, Fisher said shortly after Jamaican newspapers and broadcasters called the election for her faction. He expected his office to release the official count and breakdown of parliamentary seats on Saturday.

News station TVJ said the PNP won 41 seats in parliament and Holness’s Jamaica Labor Party 22.

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