ST. VINCENT: – Arnhim Eustace, leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), which lost the general elections on Monday by a razor thin one seat, said Tuesday night that there was “widespread evidence” of a “conspiracy to try to defraud” the electorate.
He said his party will only accept the results if they adjudged to reflect the will of the Vincentian electorate.
Dr Ralph Gonsalves and his Unity Labour Party (ULP) were at the Argyle international airport construction site celebrating their victory in eight of the 15 constituencies when Eustace made a statement at 9 p.m. on Nice Radio, his first public comment since he led his party to a third consecutive loss.
The ULP was returned to office for a third consecutive term, although it loss four of the 12 seats it held in the last Parliament.
While Eustace retained his East Kingstown seat for a fourth consecutive time, he led the NDP to its third straight defeat.
He said there were reports of persons voting in constituencies where they do not live and that voters attempted to vote twice, adding that the NDP was particularly concerned about the outcome in two constituencies won by the ULP.
Lawyers were considering private criminal complaints against citizens suspected of violating the nation’s electoral laws while the NDP was considering election petitions, he said.
He further said that his party will raise concern with the Organisation of American States (OAS) and other members of the international community, adding, that the NDP “will not take evidence of cheating lying down”.
Preliminary results show that the ULP got 27,648 votes or 51.61 per cent of the popular votes while the NDP garnered 26,231 ballots or 47.78 per cent. The Green Party mustered 123 votes, a mere 0.21 per cent.
Some 61.65 per cent of the 101,053 persons registered to vote cast ballots, compared to 63 per cent in 2005.
According to these results, the ULP won the Central Leeward, North Windward, North Central Windward, South Central Windward, South Windward, Marriaqua, East St. George and West St. George seats, while the NDP was victorious in the Northern Grenadines, Southern Grenadines, South Leeward, North Leeward, Central Kingstown, West Kingstown, and East Kingstown.
NDP Vice president, St. Claire Leacock, who won the Central Kingstown seat, said on radio Monday night that the blame for the loss was a shared one.
He said his party was too slow in responding to what the ULP dubbed an education revolution and the emotionally attachment citizens have to the international airport under construction at Argyle.
Leacock further said that the NDP, by increasing its mandate has been able to buy time, adding that had there been a 12 to 3 result again no one would have wanted to hear about the party for a long time.
He said the party needs to look for “fresh legs”, saying that such persons are around and that the party needs find them.
(I Witness-News will publish a more comprehensive report subsequently)