Dominican general election, 2005

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The 2005 Dominican General election was held in Dominica on 5 May 2005. After a hard campaign the Dominica Labour Party was re-elected winning a majority of seats. The opposition United Workers' Party unsuccessfully made legal challenges to several of the constituency results.

Background[edit]

In the previous 2000 general election the ruling United Workers' Party won one fewer seats than the Dominica Labour Party. As a result the Dominica Labour Party with 10 seats was able to form a coalition government with the Dominica Freedom Party who had won 2 seats.[1] In 2004 the Prime Minister of Dominica, Pierre Charles, died and his education minister Roosevelt Skerrit succeeded him.[2]

Campaign[edit]

On the 7 April the Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, announced that the election would take place on 5 May.[2] Altogether 47 candidates stood in the 2005 election. There were 21 candidates from the United Workers' Party, 19 from the Dominica Labour Party, 3 from the Dominica Progressive Party, 2 from the Dominica Freedom Party and 2 independent candidates. 66,000 voters were registered to vote in the election at 249 polling stations spread over the 21 constituencies.[3][4]

Major elections issues included an International Monetary Fund austerity economic plan for Dominica and the Dominica Labour Party governments' decision to switch recognition from the Republic of China to the People's Republic of China.[5][6]

On the Monday before the election, there was an incident when motorcades for the two main parties collided with each other. No major injuries resulted and rallies for each party were held afterwards.[7] The police then refused either party permission to hold motorcades on the day before the election.[4]

The campaign was judged as being particularly long and divisive, with the election seen as very close and likely to come down to voter turnout.[3][4] A poll in February predicted that the United Workers' Party would win 12 seats, compared to 7 for the Dominica Labour Party and 2 for the Dominica Freedom Party. However another poll in March had the Dominica Labour Party winning 12 seats, the United Workers' Party 7 seats and the Dominica Freedom Party 2 seats.[8]

Results[edit]

The Dominica Labour Party increased their number of seats from 10 to 12 thus obtaining a majority. The United Workers' Party lost one seat, one independent candidate was elected and the Dominica Freedom Party lost both of their seats.[9] It was the first election in 35 years where the Dominica Freedom Party—the governing party of Eugenia Charles from 1980 to 1995—did not win any seats.[10][11] Prime Minister Skerrit announced that the day after the election would be a national holiday and called for Dominica to unite behind the government after the election.[5][12]

e • d Summary of the 5 May 2005 House of Assembly of Dominica election results
Parties Votes % Seats
Dominica Labour Party 19,741 52.1 12
United Workers' Party 16,529 43.6 8
Dominica Freedom Party 1,194 3.2 -
Others 449 1.1 1
Total (turnout 57.5%) 37,913 100.0 21
Source: Dominica: legislative election of 5 May 2005

Legal challenges[edit]

The United Workers' Party made legal challenges to the results of five constituencies, Castle Bruce, Soufriere, Mahaut, St Joseph and Carib Territory alleging that there were problems with the counts and that the results were rigged by the government.[13] Initial counts in the Castle Bruce constituency had the United Workers' Party candidate ahead but the final result saw the Dominica Labour Party win by one vote.[14] Opposition supporters protested the results outside of the government headquarters in Roseau.[15] On the 28 October 2005 the legal challenges were dismissed by a High Court Justice, Hugh Rawlins.[16] The appeals court also rejected the lawsuit in April 2006 and the United Workers' Party then dropped the challenges.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "General Election 2005". News-Dominica.com. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  2. ^ a b "Dominica". Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  3. ^ a b "Dominica's general election turnout "good" - officials". Caribbean Net News. 2005-05-05. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  4. ^ a b c "Dominica holds general elections". BBC Online. 2005-05-04. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  5. ^ a b "Dominican leader wants unity". BBC Online. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  6. ^ "Governing party retains power in Dominica". The Jamaica Observer. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2009-02-28. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Dominican police investigate election motorcade furore". Caribbean Net News. 2005-05-04. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  8. ^ "Dominica vote too close to call". The Jamaica Observer. 2005-04-11. Retrieved 2009-02-28. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Dominica: Legislative election of 5 May 2005". Psephos - Adam Carr's Election Archive. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  10. ^ "Tough times for Dominica Freedom Party". Antigua Sun. 2005-05-19. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  11. ^ "Dominica re-elects prime minister". Caribbean Net News. 2005-05-09. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  12. ^ "Ruling party wins Dominica poll". BBC Online. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  13. ^ "Dominica election challenge fails". Caribbean Net News. 2005-06-04. Retrieved 2009-02-27. 
  14. ^ "Dominica general election was free and fair, says elections chief". Caribbean Net News. 2005-05-11. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  15. ^ "Opposition to challenge Dominica's poll results". BBC Online. 2005-05-09. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  16. ^ "Ruling by Dominica High Court dashes by-election hopes of United Workers Party". Caribbean Net News. 2005-11-03. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  17. ^ "Dominica opposition drops court challenge to May 2005 poll". The Jamaica Observer. 2006-04-06. Retrieved 2009-02-28. [dead link]

External links[edit]