Jamaican reservist soldiers reinforced security at electoral offices on Monday after a final count of votes cast in last week’s general election narrowed the winning party’s majority to one seat in the heavily indebted Caribbean nation. The opposition Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) was declared the victor of Thursday’s closely fought election but after a second count authorities stripped it of one seat, reducing it to 32 of 63 seats. One more constituency remains to be recounted. The tight election reflects division about Jamaica’s economy, with the winners promising low taxes and job after years of austerity under an IMF program. The ruling People’s National Party was credited by many with restoring economic order.
The Electoral Commission said on Monday the earliest it could determine the winner was Wednesday. JLP leader Andrew Holness had been due to be sworn in as prime minister on Tuesday, local media said.
The JLP spokeswoman said on Monday the party would call for a magisterial review of the results in the constituency of South East St. Mary, where its victory was overturned. The final count there showed the party losing by just nine votes, after 74 votes were rejected. Such a review would lead to more delays.
The country’s military, the Jamaican Defence Force (JDF), called out to ensure security during the election, will now stay on the streets throughout this week, with additional help from its reservist force.