2020 Vincentian general election

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2020 Vincentian general election

← 2015 5 November 2020 2025 →

15 seats in the House of Assembly
8 seats needed for a majority
Turnout66.9% (Decrease6.5%)
  First party Second party
  Ralph Gonsalves
NDP
Leader Ralph Gonsalves Godwin Friday
Party Unity Labour New Democratic
Leader's seat North Central Windward Northern Grenadines
Last election 8 seats 7 seats
Seats won 9 6
Seat change Increase 1 Decrease 1
Popular vote 32,415 32,899
Percentage 49.6% 50.3%
Swing Decrease 2.9% Increase 2.9%

Prime Minister before election

Ralph Gonsalves
Unity Labour

Elected Prime Minister

Ralph Gonsalves
Unity Labour

General elections were held in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on 5 November 2020. Nomination day was 20 October 2020.[1] The result was a victory for the Unity Labour Party, its fifth in a row; the party won nine of the fifteen seats, gaining one seat. These elections marked the first time since 1998 that the party which received the most votes did not win the most seats.

Electoral system[edit]

The 15 elected members of the House of Assembly are elected in single-member constituencies using the first-past-the-post system. A further six members are appointed: four by the government and two by the opposition.[2]

As the previous elections had been held in 2015, the current elections were constitutionally required to be held by March 2021.[3] While the previous three elections had been held in December, PM Ralph Gonsalves chose to hold this election in November.[1]

Background[edit]

Several minor parties decided not to contest the elections. The SVG Party[4] and the United Progressive Party[5] both ended their campaigns before Nomination Day. The leader of the Democratic Republican Party, Anesia Baptiste, announced her resignation on 9 October; she also stated that the party would not participate in the upcoming elections.[6]

Contesting parties[edit]

Party Position Ideology Leader

(since)

Slogan and Manifesto Campaign Songs
Unity Labour Party (ULP) Centre-left to left-wing Democratic socialism
Agrarian socialism
Republicanism
Ralph Gonsalves
(December 1998)[7]
"Lifting SVG higher."[8] Playlist available[9]
New Democratic Party (NDP) Centre-right Conservatism
Monarchism
Godwin Friday
(November 2016)[10]
"Let's get SVG working."[11] Playlist available[12]
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Green Party (GP) Left-wing Environmentalism
Green politics
Nationalism
Ivan O'Neal
(January 2005)[13]
"VOTE GREEN for a strong economy and competent leadership."[14]

Unity Labour Party[edit]

The ULP campaigned for a record fifth term in power, with PM Gonsalves dubbing himself the "5-Star General".[15] Gonsalves pointed to the Argyle International Airport and the Canouan Airport as examples of the party's record in improving infrastructure. He criticized the NDP for supporting Citizenship by investment (CBI),[16] and later alleged that foreign strategists were directing the NDP campaign and spying on the ULP.[17][18] In contrast to the "foreign influences" of the NDP, Gonsalves emphasized that the ULP's party manifesto had "come from the bowels of the people of this country, from our experiences and from our own creative minds and written by our own hands". He explained that new foreign investments in hotels and airports would allow the SVG to remain the sole country in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States without a CBI program.[19]

Gonsalves' son Camillo, the incumbent East St. George MP, criticized the NDP for nominating a returning emigrant like Fitzgerald Bramble, rather than someone who had been living in the country more recently.[20]

New Democratic Party[edit]

After leading the NDP in the four previous elections, former PM Arnhim Eustace stepped down as party president in 2016,[21] and retired from the Assembly in 2020.[22]

The new leader Godwin Friday criticized the ULP's cronyism and its inability to improve the country over its 19 years in power: while the ULP leaders benefited from government projects, the average citizen faced rising costs-of-living and an unemployment rate of over 30 percent. This situation led many young Vincentians to emigrate, further handicapping development.[23] To combat this, Friday proposed several incentives, such as decreasing the national VAT rate and the interest rate on student loans and reforming the port customs system.[24] He also proposed an increase in the minimum stipend for workers in the national service.[25]

While the NDP had been advocating for the country to switch recognition from Taiwan to China since 2016, the party moderated its stance after meeting with Vincentians currently studying in Taiwan on scholarship. Instead, the party indicated that it would maintain ties with Taiwan in return for increased investment in SVG.[25]

Shevern John, the NDP candidate for North Windward, was denied leave from her job as a schoolteacher in order to contest the election, a benefit specified in the collective bargaining agreement between the SVG Teacher's Union (SVGTU) and the Public Service Commission (PSC). She was forced to resign instead. In 2010, three teachers wanting to run as NDP candidates had also been forced to resign; the SVGTU obtained a court decision in the teachers' favour, but the PSC had not reinstated the teachers as of 2020.[26]

SVG Green Party[edit]

In its statements, the GP criticized both the ULP and the NDP for relying heavily on the tourism industry. The party promised free university education and wireless internet for all citizens as well as Green economy initiatives in order to encourage more-sustainable economic growth and provide better jobs for the local population. The funding for these initiatives would initially come from abolishing loopholes such as the "Mustique Act", which granted the (mostly foreign) residents of Mustique exemptions from tax and customs duties.[27][28] Being smaller than the other two parties, the GP signalled support for joining a coalition government.[29]

Candidates[edit]

33 candidates were nominated in total: 15 each from the ULP and the NDP, 2 from the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Green Party, and one ULP member running as an independent in South Leeward.[30][31]

Constituency ULP [32][33] NDP [34] GP[35] Incumbent[36]
Central Kingstown Dominic Sutherland St Clair Leacock St Clair Leacock
Central Leeward Orlando Brewster Benjamin Exeter Louis Straker
East Kingstown Luke Brown Dwight Fitzgerald Bramble Arnhim Eustace
East St. George Camillo Gonsalves Laverne Gibson-Velox Ivan O'Neal Camillo Gonsalves
Marriaqua St. Clair Prince Bernard Wylie St. Clair Prince
North Central Windward Ralph Gonsalves Chieftain Neptune Kadmiel McFee Ralph Gonsalves
North Leeward Carlos James Roland Mathews Roland Mathews
North Windward Montgomery Daniel Shevern John Montgomery Daniel
Northern Grenadines Carlos Williams Godwin L. Friday Godwin L. Friday
South Central Windward Saboto Caesar Israel Bruce Saboto Caesar
South Leeward Minerva Glasgow[note 1] Nigel Stephenson Nigel Stephenson
South Windward Frederick Stephenson Noel Dickson Frederick Stephenson
Southern Grenadines Edwin Snagg Terrance Ollivierre Terrance Ollivierre
West Kingstown Deborah Charles Daniel Cummings Daniel Cummings
West St. George Curtis King Kay Bacchus-Baptiste Cecil Mckie
  1. ^ ULP member Asordo Bennett is also running in this constituency as an independent.

Marginal seats[edit]

Unity Labour Party New Democratic Party
Constituency 2015 majority Constituency 2015 majority
1 North Leeward 0.21% 1 Central Leeward 5.13%
2 South Leeward 1.61% 2 North Windward 5.13%
3 East Kingstown 2.26% 3 East St. George 7.79%
4 West Kingstown 7.02% 4 West St. George 8.40%
5 Central Kingstown 7.77% 5 South Central Windward 10.16%
6 Southern Grenadines 15.31% 6 Marriaqua 12.17%
7 Northern Grenadines 34.44% 7 South Windward 12.58%
8 North Central Windward 42.84%
Source: 2015 SVG General Elections Report - Electoral Office

Results[edit]

For the first time since 1998, the ULP did not win the popular vote. However, the ULP saw their majority increase by one seat, North Leeward, which the ULP won by 7 votes. All other seats remained in the hands of the party previously holding them.[37] The NDP candidate for North Leeward, Roland "Patel" Matthews, requested a recount. Some ballots from both sides were rejected in the recount; the final tally showed the ULP winning by 1 vote.[38]

The National Monitoring and Consultative Mechanism (NMCM), a domestic election observer, judged the election to be free and fair overall.[39] This was corroborated by a CARICOM observer mission.[40]

Gonsalves was sworn in for his fifth term on 7 November, with Montgomery Daniel sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister. The Governor-General, Susan Dougan, congratulated Gonsalves on his record win; she then reminded him to "create a structure for healing" society after the election, reaching out to opposition supporters as well as his own.[41]

Saint-Vincent-et-les-Grenadines Assemblée 2020.svg
PartyVotes%Seats+/–
New Democratic Party32,89950.336–1
Unity Labour Party32,41549.599+1
Green Party330.0500
Independents160.020New
Total65,363100.00150
Valid votes65,36399.50
Invalid/blank votes3260.50
Total votes65,689100.00
Registered voters/turnout98,11966.95
Source: Electoral Office

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Gonsalves breaks trend, calls November election". iWitness News. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  2. ^ St. Vincent and the Grenadines Election Centre Caribbean Elections
  3. ^ "Voice Yo Choice calls on youth to get involved in election process". Searchlight. 9 October 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  4. ^ "The SVG party – Vote for Growth". Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  5. ^ Sam, Ashecia (3 October 2020). "UPP BACKS DOWN". One News St.Vincent. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  6. ^ McTair, Demion (9 October 2020). "Anesia Baptiste ends 8-year DRP leadership to preach gospel". One News St.Vincent. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves". Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Retrieved 24 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Manifesto". Unity Labour Party. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Ringtones and Music". Unity Labour Party. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  10. ^ Haynes, Abigail (28 November 2016). "NDP's New President". NBC SVG.
  11. ^ "Our Manifesto". NDP SVG. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  12. ^ "NDP VICTORY MIX 2020". SoundCloud. 30 October 2020.
  13. ^ Ivan O'Neal. "History". SVG Green Party. Retrieved 24 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Download SVG Green Party manifesto 2020". SVG Green Party. 21 October 2020.
  15. ^ "ULP View: The five STAR General". thevincentian.com. 17 July 2020. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  16. ^ "I AM READY TO RUMBLE – GONSALVES". Searchlight. 10 October 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Gonsalves says NDP strategists cyber spying, tapping phone". iWitness News. 26 October 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  18. ^ "NDP campaign masterminds won't leave if they set foot in SVG — PM". iWitness News. 18 October 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  19. ^ McLeod, Sheri-Kae (26 October 2020). "St. Vincent's Ruling Party Launches Manifesto Ahead of November 5 Poll". Caribbean News. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  20. ^ "FITZ BRAMBLE NOT QUALIFIED TO RUN FOR GREEN PARTY—CAMILLO GONSALVES". Asberth News Network. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  21. ^ Brown, Calvin G. (17 November 2016). "ST. VINCENT- Arnhim Eustace to step down as opposition leader". www.wiredja.com. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Plaudits for Eustace on his last day as MP". iWitness News. 13 October 2020. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  23. ^ "The choice in this election is clear – Friday". Searchlight. 10 October 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Friday promises to work for all of SVG's youth". iWitness News. 3 November 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  25. ^ a b "Friday's Taiwan scholarship pledge suggests pivot away from China". iWitness News. 24 October 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  26. ^ "Teacher resigns to contest next General Election". Searchlight. 23 October 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  27. ^ "SVG Green Party View: SVG is at a crossroad". thevincentian.com. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  28. ^ "SVG Green Party View: Vote Green to make the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan pay tax". thevincentian.com. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  29. ^ "SVG Green Party View: The need for Green MPs and coalition governments". thevincentian.com. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  30. ^ "33 candidates to contest, including two Green Party, one Independent". Searchlight. 23 October 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  31. ^ "ULP supporter nominated as independent candidate for South Leeward". Searchlight. 23 October 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  32. ^ "ULP leader hints that the next general election is not far off". Searchlight. 1 September 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  33. ^ "Gonsalves unleashes verbal onslaught in defence of 'fresh' candidates". iWitness News. 4 September 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  34. ^ "Chieftain Neptune". NDP SVG. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  35. ^ "List of Candidates for SVG 2020 Elections". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 21 October 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  36. ^ "Four in a row for ULP". iWitness News. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  37. ^ "ULP wins 5 in a row". iWitness News. 6 November 2020. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  38. ^ "Second recount requested as James' lead falls to 1". iWitness News. 7 November 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  39. ^ "NMCM Observers say SVG General Elections were free and fair". Searchlight. 10 November 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  40. ^ "CARICOM Election Observation Mission declares the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Elections free and fair". CARICOM. 7 November 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  41. ^ "GG urges PM to continue inclusive governance". iWitness News. 7 November 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.