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Antigua opposition concerned about register for upcoming general election

Sunday, March 18, 2018

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ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — The main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP), has expressed concern about the state of the register for elections ahead of Wednesday’s general election.

In a statement late Saturday, the party said that the Register for elections that was published on March 12, could have been released in “error and may not be the list upon which the elections may be held”.

The party notes that the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2001 at section 24 states – “The Commission shall, not later than seven days after the issuing of the writ for an election for a constituency, publish in respect of that constituency, a register of electors to be known as a register for elections.”

“Our understanding of these provisions is that the Register published on or about March 12, 2018 shall be used for the elections scheduled for March 21, 2018,” UPP noted in the statement.

“However, in our effort to obtain an electronic copy of the List for Elections published on or about March 12, 2018 we have learnt that the Commission is in the process of preparing the List for Elections. We find this information perplexing since the List for Elections have already been published.”

The opposition party has called for an explanation of this situation from Antigua and Barbuda Electoral Commission (ABEC) with a view to minimizing any adverse effect the situation could have on Wednesday’s poll.

“Given the imminence of the general elections, we expect ABEC to give this matter its most urgent attention,” the UPP said.

Wednesday’s general election will be a straight fight between the ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) and the UPP, although there are five other political parties and five independents vying for control of the 17-seat Parliament.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne who is leading the ABLP into a second general election, is promising to follow his prime ministerial colleague in Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell, where he led his New National party (NNP) to a complete rout of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) by winning all 15 seats.

But the UPP, which governed this country for 10 years before being ousted in 2014, is not perturbed and is instead urging supporters to put an end to the corruption, unfulfilled promises of the Browne administration.

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