Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves claps as supporters react to his announcement of the election date on Nov. 7. (IWN photo)

Using a farming analogy, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had long promised that the 2015 election campaign would be a “short-rope” one, with which the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) would “heng” itself.

It is said that short ropes, rather than long ones, cause tethered animals to “heng” — strangle themselves.

“I have been repeatedly saying to you that the time period between dissolution and the election would be very short,” Gonsalves said on Nov. 7, when he announced that elections would be held on Dec. 9.

“I told you that those of us who come from the farming community … we know in the farming community is not long rope that does heng cattle, it’s short rope. Therefore, we are going to give short rope to heng the NDP,” said Gonsalves, whose Unity Labour Party is bidding for an unprecedented fourth consecutive term in office for a Labour government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The 2015 elections is the third that Gonsalves has had the constitutional privilege of announcing since he was elected to office in 2001.

In light of his repeated “short-rope” references, we were curious to find out just how long is the 2015 campaign period relative to the 2005 and 2010 campaigns.

Actually, it is the longest of the three, although by just one day.

In 2005, Gonsalves announced on Nov. 6 that elections would be held on Dec. 7, leaving 30 days between the announcement and polling day.

That number went down to 28 days in 2010, when he announced the Dec. 13 election on Nov. 14.

But in 2015, Vincentians have 31 clear days between the Nov. 7 announcement of the election and polling day: Dec.9.

The elections are expected to be a clear race between the ULP and the NDP, but political observers say they are too close to call.

The SVG Green Party, which secured just 0.02 per cent of the votes in 2010, and the 3-year-old Democratic Republican Party are not expected to have any impact on the elections outcome, observers say.