ROSEAU, Dominica, Monday December 9, 2019 – Despite several observer missions declaring that the outcome of Friday’s general election in which the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) won a fifth consecutive term reflected the will of the people, the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) is insisting it will not accept the results of what it says was a “rigged” and “stolen” election.
The UWP is alleging that thousands of overseas-based Dominicans were paid to return home to cast their ballots, swinging the election in the DLP’s favour.
And Opposition Leader Lennox Linton has called for Dominicans to “rise up” and demand new polls.
The DLP won 18 of the 21 seats seat in the National Assembly, giving Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit a straight fourth term in office. The UWP took the other three seats, including the said were legitimately won, even as he questioned the validity of the vote.
Of the almost 40,189 who voted, 23,541 cast ballots for the DLP, but Linton claimed that at least 8,000 and up to 13,000 of those votes were bought. The Opposition Leader alleged that people were bribed with airline tickets and spending money to return to the island to vote.
“We are saying to the people of Dominica [that] we need now to demand fresh elections because as far as we are concerned, this illegitimate result renders the election null and void and it renders the government null and void. We not recognize this government because it is the result of a stolen election,” he said in an address on social media.
“We in the United Workers Party consider that the three seats that we hold were properly won because they had nothing today with bribing or bringing overseas votes. We submitted ourselves to the requirements of the constitutional rule of law and were elected as representatives of our separate communities in the Parliament of Dominica. Those who stole elections in their separate constitutions will need to answer for what they have done….The people of Dominica must rise up and stand up to make sure that those who have done wrong to Dominica, those who have moved purposefully to pervert democracy and subvert the will of the people in Dominica must be made to pay for it.”
But the reports of foreign teams that observed the elections have indicated the elections were free and fair.
The observing missions from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organization of American States (OAS), and Commonwealth, along with the Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (LCEE) concluded that the results reflected the will of the citizens.
And Prime Minister Skerrit, who was sworn into office on Saturday, also insisted the elections were free and fair. At the same time, he promised to set up a commission for electoral reform within the first 100 days of his new administration.
“The work of that commission, added to all the previous consultancies and electoral reports from various international organizations, together with the decision of the courts, will inform the shape of Dominica’s electoral reform. Public hearings will be held throughout the country and all Dominicans will be able to appear before the commission and give their views,” he said in an address to the nation.