United Workers' Party (Dominica)
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The United Workers' Party is a centrist political party in Dominica. As of the 2009 general election, it is the only opposition party represented in the House of Assembly of Dominica, holding three of the twenty-one seats. Its past Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly is Hector John.
The United Workers' Party with less than 34% of the votes was the majority party in Dominica's parliament from 1995 until 2000, led by party co-founder Edison James as Prime Minister of Dominica. James currently serves as the UWP's president.
The party now has a new leader, Lennox Linton who is the current Leader of the Opposition. In the last general elections in 2014, the party won 6 seats out of the 21.
The party was founded in 1988 by Edison James, Julius Timothy, Norris Prevost, Dennis La Bassiere and others. In the 1990 elections, the UWP won 6 of the 21 seats and became the official opposition. In 1995, the UWP won 11 seats at the general elections forming the first UWP government headed by Edison James as prime minister.
At the 31 January 2000 elections, the party won 43.3% of the popular vote and 9 out of 21 elected members of parliament. Though it captured the most popular votes, it got fewer seats than the Dominica Labour Party. The party was therefore once again in opposition. James continued to lead the party, which set up a tough campaign for the 5 May 2005 elections, but lost 1 seat. After the election, this time receiving less votes than the Dominica Labour Party, the party held 8 seats in Parliament and remained in opposition.
In December 2005, James stood down as political leader and was replaced by Attorney Earl Williams, Minister of Communications and Works in the last UWP administration. Williams defeated founding member and then Deputy Leader Julius Timothy who also sought the leadership of the party. As a result Timothy, the Minister of Finance under the UWP government, left the party and crossed the floor to join the Dominica Labour Party government. This resulted in the UWP being reduced to seven seats in Parliament.
2009-2010: general election, boycott, and by-election
In the general election held in December 2009, the UWP lost four of its seven seats, including the seat of party leader Ronald Green. The UWP subsequently filed litigation in the Roseau High Court challenging the results of five constituencies, including that of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, and demanding a new general election; pending the results, the three UWP members boycotted parliament. After two UWP members did not attend three consecutive sessions, Speaker of the House Alix Boyd Knights declared their seats vacant in April, and a by-election was scheduled for 9 July 2010. Both UWP members ran and won their seats again in the by-election, against the same candidates they faced in the 2009 general election.
UWP member Hector John was sworn in as Leader of the Opposition on 19 July 2010. Four of the six UWP legal petitions were dismissed in August 2010. The UWP members are expected to end their boycott, citing as a reason the President's announcement that funds would be made available for election reform.
- Electoral Office (21 December 2009), House of Assembly General Election 2009 - Final Count (PDF), Commonwealth of Dominica, archived from the original (PDF) on July 19, 2011, retrieved 25 September 2010.
- Opposition continues boycott of Parliament, Caribbean Daily News, 29 March 2010, retrieved 25 September 2010.
- BBC Caribbean News in Brief: Opposition wins Dominica by-election, BBC Caribbean, 12 July 2010, retrieved 14 July 2010
- Electoral Office, 2010 By-Election Results (Final Count), Commonwealth of Dominica, archived from the original on December 6, 2010, retrieved 25 September 2010.
- Hector John Sworn in as Leader of the Opposition, Dominica Central, 20 July 2010, archived from the original on March 9, 2012, retrieved 2010-09-25.
- Government Information Service (27 August 2009), High Court dismisses four out of six petitions filed against the ruling Dominica Labour Party, Commonwealth of Dominica, retrieved 25 September 2010. Two petitions remain and will go to trial, alleging that the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and MP Peter Saint Jean were ineligible for election because they have dual citizenship. See also Court upholds dual citizenship charge against Prime Minister, Caribbean Daily News, 25 August 2010, retrieved 25 September 2010.
- UWP to attend next sitting of Parliament; senators expected to be sworn in, Dominica News Online, 8 September 2010, retrieved 25 September 2010.
- James in charge - again, Dominica News Online, 15 January 2012, retrieved 16 January 2012.