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Dominica PM wins elections, promises to start electoral reform within first 100 days

Roosevelt Skerrit.

Incumbent Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit Friday night claimed victory for his Dominica Labour Party (DLP) and he immediately announced that an electoral reform commission would be appointed within the first 100 days of his new five-year term.

“The people of the Commonwealth of Dominica have spoken and I want to thank them for giving the Dominica Labour Party a resounding victory and returning us to office for another term as the next government,” he said in a radio and television address.

Official results show that the DLP won 18 seats and the United Workers’ Party (UWP) clinched three of the six seats it had previously held.

He said a well-respected Caribbean legal luminary would spearhead electoral reform through public hearings and feedback from social media. “Having reflected on this issue, it is my intention to invite a renowned Caribbean jurist to lead a national commission on electoral reform. The work of that commission, added to all previous consultancy and electoral reports from various international organisations together with the decision of the courts will inform the shape of Dominica’s electoral reform,” he said. The process, Skerrit said, would include public hearings, confidential submissions and social media interaction.

While he reiterated that the elections were free and fair and held under the same rules since independence in 1978, Skerrit’s promise of electoral reform came amidst pre-election unrest by opposition supporters who demanded a clean voters’ list and voter identification cards before the December 6 elections.

The Prime Minister said his DLP supporters would not celebrate until next weekend due to security concerns, but instead he encouraged them and their elected representatives as well as the UWP candidates who won seats to attend a church of their choice on Sunday and give praise. “Given the volatility and tensions of the last few weeks, I am asking all Labour Party candidates to celebrate their victory celebrations until next weekend. Instead, I am declaring Sunday, December 8 as a day of national peace, prayer, reconciliation and healing,” he said.

Skerrit said he hoped to meet with Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton in the coming days in the hope that they could put the election campaigning behind them.