Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he does not think that the recent midterm elections in the United States will have an impact on the next general elections here, which can be called on March 28, 2016 at the latest, but are likely to be called sometime next year.
In the US midterm elections, President Barack Obama’s party, the Democrats, lost control of the Senate, giving the Republicans full control of Congress and the power to pin down Obama during his last two years in office.
The Gonsalves led Unity Labour Party (ULP), which is seeking a fourth consecutive terms in office, has seen its number of popular vote decrease every election since it came to office in 2001.
In the December 2010 poll, the ULP lost four seats to the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), holding on to power by a one-seat majority.
Similarly, Obama has seen his approval rating continue to slide since he came to office in 2008.
Asked on Monday if he thinks that the outcome of the US midterms will influence Vincentian voters, Gonsalves said no.
“The dynamics of American politics and what drives the various states [are] entirely different from ours. It’s completely different, so that is of no connection to us,” Gonsalves said.
“In the case of the NDP under Arnhim Eustace, do they have any relations with anybody outside of St. Vincent and the Grenadines? I know Sir James [Mitchell] used to be internationalist and would have relations with a number of countries you don’t see what is happening?” he said in response to a question, in which a journalist had noted that the NDP once had a relationship with the Republican Party in the United States.
“The NDP has been seized by a certain parochialism, the only thing which they get associated with is some people in St. Kitts, two fellas come down here,” Gonsalves said.
He was referring to Kittitian opposition lawmaker and former government minister Timothy Harris and another of his colleagues, who had come to St. Vincent in March to highlight the political situation in Basseterre, where the opposition had failed to have the government debate a motion of no confidence for more than a year.
Gonsalves then went into a tirade against the NDP and some of its members and candidates. (See video below)
The NDP has announced its full slate of candidate for the next general elections, but the ULP are yet to announced candidate for several constituencies.
Gonsalves said that the ULP will convene constituency conferences to select candidate in South Central Windward, South Windward, and North Windward this month, and in East St. George in early December.
“We are putting together everything and then two in which we didn’t win and there are no candidates who named, but we will be moving shortly to bring the speculation to an end in West Kingstown and also in Central Kingstown,” he said.