Tight finish likely in polling today
Last minute opinion polls suggest that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has closed the gap on the People’s National Party (PNP) with both parties neck and neck in today’s general election. The JLP had been trailing the PNP with a poll last week putting the PNP on 39% and the JLP on 35%, but that has narrowed further with an eve of poll survey putting both parties on 37%.
The 1,648,036 voters will be choosing 63 members (up from 60 in 2007) of the lower chamber or House of Representatives.
150 candidates are standing in the election, with 63 for JLP, 63 for PNP, 10 for Marcus Garvey’s People’s Political Party, 7 for the National Democratic Movement and 6 Independents. Polling stations are open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) called the snap election having taken over from Bruce Golding in October. If he loses he could be one of the shortest reigning prime ministers in history and may well find his position within the party is challenged. His opponent for the role of prime minister, Portia Simpson-Miller of the People’s National Party (PNP) will almost certainly face a leadership contest if they lose a second general election in a row.
Whoever wins the election faces a serious economic crisis. Debt is running at about $18.6 billion with around 60% of government spending going on debt repayments.