Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, left, and Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace chat before the beginning of budget proceedings in January (Photo: Elson Crick, viaFacebook).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The question that should occupy Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace is not when the next general election would come but rather, if he would survive a leadership challenge within his New Democratic Party (NDP), according to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.

General elections here are constitutionally due in 2015 but Eustace told Searchlight newspaper last week that he was not ruling out the possibility that Vincentians could go to the polls as early as this year.

“The question for Eustace is this: it’s not whether they are going to have general elections this year. It is whether he, Mr. Eustace, can survive as the leader of the NDP at the time when Ralph advises the Governor General to dissolve Parliament with the election date. That is the question which is consuming them inside of the NDP,” Gonsalves said on Tuesday.

“The NDP knows by now that their leader has a two-pony circus in order to keep his job,” Gonsalves said, adding that the first is “a pony of austerity”.

“And without him riding that pony, there is nobody on the opposition who could handle Ralph with the economy,” Gonsalves said.

“… The other pony that he rides is a pony that elections are around the corner so if you change me, not only wouldn’t you have anybody to match Ralph in the House to deal with the issues …” Gonsalves further said.

“I mean the grown men and women in the NDP don’t realise that is the story. I think more and more they realise,” Gonsalves said.

He further said that NDP founder and former primer minister Sir James Mitchell “decided to bell that cat last year June on television”.

Sir James has said publicly that Eustace should step down as head of the NDP after he lost a third consecutive election in 2010.

Real also: Leacock endorses Eustace as NDP leader

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